IAB member Chris Paouros takes us through a busy month of LGBT+ events and action

As a member of Proud Lilywhites and our Inclusion Advisory Board, Chris Paouros took the time to write about a busy month so far for the LGBT+ community in football

Tuesday 27 Feb 2018
Chris Paouros takes us through a busy month of LGBT action for the FA and Proud Lilywhites in February

February is the Football v Homophobia and LGBT History Month - it has certainly been a busy and eventful few weeks.

It’s extra special for me, as it’s my first one as part of the FA’s Inclusion Advisory Board and for the Proud Lilywhites, it’s our fourth anniversary, having launched in February 2014.

We started out just by bringing LGBT+ Spurs fans together and it was later that year when we 'officially' incorporated and started working with other LGBT+ fan groups. When we started there were four and there's now a Pride in Football alliance across the leagues with more than 40 LGBT+ fan groups across the UK.

It’s been a good month too; there's been a really nice balance with a combination of football games, community events and events with other LGBT+ fan groups.

Our focus is always on our three objectives: socialising, campaigning and education.

And this month has seen events in all three areas, as recently as Sunday when we met up with our great friends from Proud and Palace ahead of the game between Spurs and Crystal Palace.

When you have teams with other LGBT+ fan groups, it's great to meet up and fuel the friendly rivalry ahead of kick-off. We also took part in an event with the PFA where Fan Groups and other football campaigning organisations came together to share best practice.

From a community point of view, we’ve taken part in LGBT History Month events with both Haringey Council and Jackson's Lane Community Theatre - giving a talk at one of their 'Broadway Brunches' for residents at sheltered accommodation in the Tottenham area.

We went to watch Spurs Ladies beat Watford 6-0 last Thursday night and despite it being bitterly cold, we were delighted to be there with our flag and see a good win for Spurs.

Greg Clarke chats to members of the Gay Gooners at the LGBT reception at Wembley last week

From an FA perspective, last week saw the chairman Greg Clarke host a reception evening at Wembley with a strong panel of people from across the game, before we also ran an education session with staff up at St. George’s Park.

Despite such a busy month, this isn’t what I do for a living, on a day-to-day basis I'm a business and strategy consultant, but having built up the working relationships across football, I'm honoured to be one of a number of people making football the catalyst for social and cultural change; with the FA at the helm.

Being part of the IAB is going well too, we’ve had two meetings so far and it’s been really interesting.

Our chair Paul Elliott has a vision of how he wants to be an effective and valuable catalyst for positive change in football and also ensure that's reflected across the FA.

The reason I do this is to drive change and I already know from working with Paul for a short time that he wants to do the same. The FA are the governing body for football in England and have a real opportunity to be a leader here and I’m proud to be a part of that.


By Chris Paouros FA Inclusion Advisory Board member