Spalding United Junior Football Club have become the second club in Lincolnshire to complete Lincolnshire FA’s new LGBTQ+ Accredited Club Programme and were awarded their certification of completion and rainbow armbands on Thursday 27th April.
They received their Accreditation certificate from Jordan Mason (Football Development Officer – Disability & Inclusion).
The Lincolnshire Football Association’s LGBTQ+ accreditation framework is for clubs in Lincolnshire to demonstrate the steps they are making to be an inclusive environment for those that identify as part of the LGBTQ+ Community.
The Lincolnshire FA Vision (One Lincolnshire Community, United and Inspired by the Power of Football) is built on the foundations of unity, inclusivity, and acceptance. Our goal is for all football in the county and beyond to be an environment where every player, coach, referee, spectator, or volunteer can enjoy the game and feel comfortable in being themselves, without fear of discrimination.
An inclusive club is one where all members can be their true selves without fear of discrimination or judgement, and instead feel welcomed and valued. A truly inclusive club will see an increase in both enjoyment and performance.
Lee Black, Coach at Spalding United JFC U13’s Blue, said: “For me, it’s about raising awareness to a stigma that is massive in sport, but especially in football. There’s still that stigma that if you’re a boy and you play football, you’re straight, and if you’re a girl and play football then you’re gay. We have to get rid of this idea and allow everyone to play no matter what. That’s so important.”
“The Rainbow Laces was a first step for everyone into the programme. That raised so much awareness, because it’s so unusual to some and makes them ask – ‘why?’ And the minute some askes you why, you can open a dialogue with them. That was a big thing for us.”
“We’ve maintained that all year and as a football club, we’ve got posters everywhere and in the matchday programme we’ve got a double page spread on the fact we’re inclusive and promoting the statement of don’t hate and discriminate. It’s been overheard at the bar of people commenting on it, which is a big thing for us.”
“For me personally, it should be in the players code of conduct because it’s an all-inclusive sport. We want everyone. Unfortunately for me, it’s going to take a big name to come out and be open about it which is such a shame that nobody will do that, so we’ve got to start at grassroots and flip it on it’s head. Rather than waiting for the Premier League, we’ve got to bring the youngsters through to show the Premier League that it’s absolutely fine. That to me is why it’s so important.”
“I’ve seen the impact discrimination has on individuals. It’s devastating. We witnessed it in a game, and I think every parent felt sick on the way home. It affected the child for about 6 weeks I’d say, didn’t want to play and to be honest, it’s probably one of the worst things I’ve heard in football to hear a parent say, ‘I knew it was going to happen but I thought they’d get to about 13 before I heard it’. That was one of the most devastating things I’d ever heard.”
“That’s why I’m so open to these things, because I want to get rid of that”.
Football Development Officer (Disability & Inclusion) at Lincolnshire FA, Jordan Mason, said: "It's fantastic to see Spalding United JFC become our second LGBTQ+ Accredited Club. Lee and the club have massively bought into the programme, going above and beyond the minimum requirements.”
“They have introduced a two-page spread about the initiative in the first team programme, and have planned a mural including the LGBTQ+ Programme alongside some club art. They've also used the programme as a starting point for discussions with parents and players alike and have found this to be incredibly useful for raising awareness and driving LGBTQ+ inclusion.”
“Lee's enthusiasm has inspired everyone at Spalding to buy in to the initiative and they fully deserve to be rewarded for their work in this area."
For more information on our LGBTQ+ Accreditation Programme, and how your club can begin the process, click here
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