FvH Award Winners 2024

Lincolnshire FA Win Second Consecutive Football v Homophobia Award

Lincolnshire were among three County FA’s shortlisted along with Staffordshire FA and Norfolk FA

Lincolnshire Football Association have been awarded the Football v Homophobia County FA Award for the second consecutive year in a row, presented at the National Football Museum in Manchester.

The award recognises the important contribution that English County FAs make to increasing LGBTQ+ inclusion, as well as addressing LGBTQ+phobia within their area. Lincolnshire were among three County FA’s shortlisted along with Staffordshire FA and Norfolk FA. 

The FvH Awards are held annually to recognise the work that happens both in and around LGBTQ+ inclusion in football, across all levels of the game. This year’s ceremony took place at the National Football Museum in Manchester on Friday 23rd February, and was attended by Jordan Mason (Football Development Officer for Disability & Inclusion), Angela Westley (Chair of the Lincolnshire FA Inclusion Advisory Group), and Zack Leader (LGBTQ+ Ambassador and Media, Marketing & Events Officer).

The Football v Homophobia campaign exists to challenge discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression at all levels in football. As an international initiative, FvH engages in campaigning, education, advice and guidance, research, policy consultation and capacity building to:

• Make existing football structures safe, welcoming, and inclusive for LGBTQ+ people
• Create opportunities and promote engagement of LGBTQ+ people in football at all levels and in all forms
• Improve the representation and visibility of LGBTQ+ people throughout football
• To realise the potential of football in society as a tool to create positive change 

Earlier in February, we hosted our annual FvH weekend of action which included a half time Q&A at Lincoln City vs Fleetwood Town, a 6-a-side mixed gender tournament on the 3G astro pitches at the LNER Stadium, and a Q&A panel with guest speakers (Hayley Wood-Thompson, Sam Hill, and Callum Prince). We've also hosted two LGBTQ+ workshops which saw attendees from club officials and volunteers. 

The award recognises the positive work being done by all at Lincolnshire FA, from the Football Development team, to the discipline and football operations team, to the Inclusion Advisory Group, to the CEO - as well as the fantastic work being done by clubs across Lincolnshire to make football more inclusive and create safe spaces for all in their footballing environments. 

Jordan Mason, Football Development Officer (Disability & Inclusion), said: "We are incredibly proud to be recognised for our work in this space and win the County FA Award for the second year in a row. We have made great progress across our LGBTQ+ Initiatives over the past year; with over 100 attendees to our LGBTQ+ Inclusion Workshops and 7 accredited clubs to date, another successful Football v Homophobia Month of Action, and for the first time ever Lincolnshire has an LGBTQ+ Team. 
I want to congratulate both Staffordshire and Norfolk for the great work they are doing in this space, as well as thank everyone who is joining us on this journey to make football in Lincolnshire a safer, more welcoming and inclusive space for LGBTQ+ people."

Nick Hanson, CEO of Lincolnshire FA, said: "We are delighted to be recognised again for our work in this area. We are committed to ensuring that football is available to all members of our community. A fundamental pillar of our work is creating safe and inclusive football environments and winning this award for the second year in a row evidences our commitment to provide safe spaces for all members of community to engage in football activities."

Zack Leader, LGBTQ+ Ambassador for Lincolnshire FA, said: "It's a monumental privilege for us to receive this award for the second year in a row. It's reflective of the hard work being put in not just within the organisation, but by the football community of Lincolnshire to make football in our area as inclusive and as safe as possible. We, as a community, are literally changing lives by creating safe spaces in our football structures and creating opportunities for people who have overcome countless personal challenges and barriers to be involved in the game again - sometimes for the first time ever. Whether someone be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, non-binary, or identify as being LGBTQ+ - this game is for you in Lincolnshire. Thank you to Lou, Jon, and everyone at FvH for recognising this!

While there is so much amazing work being done, we still have a growing problem in Lincolnshire. Unlike the trends nationally, discrimination incidents in reference to sexual orientation are the highest reported of all the protected characteristics. So far this season, we've received 25 reports of allegations around homophobic abuse - that's 7 more already than the whole of last season. Of those 25 reports, 16 of them came from Youth Football and 9 from Open Age. So there's still lots to be done in terms of educating and removing homophobia root and stem in our area, but representation is a huge part of that and so I'd like to send personal gratitude to everyone who commits themselves to promoting LGBTQ+ inclusion in football." 

For more information on how to make football for all in Lincolnshire, click here.

If you'd like to report discrimination, click here

For more information on Football v Homophobia, click here

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