by Matt Phillips
Aslie Pitter has joined the likes of Pele, Sir Bobby Charlton and Alan Shearer by becoming an FA150 Ambassador.
Pitter was a founder of the country’s first ever gay football club, Stonewall FC, in 1991 and was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Years Honours List in 2011.
It’s over 20 years since Stonewall played their very first competitive game and the club has gone from strength to strength by winning Gay Games gold medals at both the Sydney and Chicago football tournaments before successfully defending their title again in Cologne three years ago.
February is the official Football v Homophobia awareness month and Pitter is pleased to be involved in The FA’s 150th anniversary celebrations.
He said: “I’m delighted to be an Ambassador and hope that in the next 50 years a player’s sexual orientation, skin colour or creed will become as irrelevant as their eye colour.
“Stonewall FC believes that football is for everybody and for over 20 years we have been challenging any homophobic preconception the best way we know how, with our feet, with the ball, with fair play and exemplary behaviour.”
Premier League clubs such as Arsenal, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Sunderland, West Ham and Norwich are all officially supporting Football v Homophobia this month alongside the Football League’s Ipswich Town, Crystal Palace, Gillingham and Exeter City.
Stonewall were represented at both last month’s FA150 launch at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London and the 2012 introduction to The FA’s anti-homophobia in football campaign 'Opening Doors and Joining In'.
Pitter added: “'Opening Doors...' clearly sets out a coherent strategy for developing inclusion and diversity whilst tackling discrimination in all its forms.
“My love of football has always carried me through the challenges of being a black, gay man in the game and given me a burning appreciation of the non-footballing pressures that can be faced by players in the dressing room, on the touchline and in the wider soccer world.
“Society may have changed for us dramatically over that time but it’s noticeable that tackling homophobia has become a regular topic in the media since The FA launched 'Opening Doors...' and we look forward to supporting the newly launched Football v Homophobia campaign throughout February.”
For more information on Football v Homophobia log onto www.footballvhomophobia.com