Paddy Power Makes A Point About Premier League Football Players

Author:Giambrone Law ILP
Profession:Giambrone & Partners

Brighton & Hove Pride Festival 2018 will see an empty "float" in the parade tomorrow in the shape of a double-decker bus sponsored by the bookmaker Paddy Power. The bus is festooned with slogans and calls to action to the currently anonymous gay Premiership footballers. The bus is designated to carry all the openly gay Premier League football players in the parade. Needless to say, the bus will be empty.

The tongue-in-cheek gesture is aimed at highlighting the unreceptive atmosphere towards the LGBT community within the upper levels of professional football, notwithstanding the recent attempts by the Football Association to show inclusion by means of the FA's Inclusion Advisory Board giving a seat to Chris Paoruos of the Proud Lilywhites, the gay Spurs Supporters' Association. Paddy Power has also taken full page adverts in the Metro newspaper to underline the fact that statistically, it is reasonable to expect the Premier League to reflect the same proportion of individuals who identify as LGBT found in society, however, the reality is that not one of the hundreds of Premier League footballers is openly gay.

Gareth Thomas, the former international rugby player, has made enormous headway in his attempts to address homophobia in football and has spearheaded the campaign to add homophobia to the Football Offences Act with the introduction of a Private Members' Bill which is currently on its way through parliament. Gareth interviewed Gabriele Giambrone for his documentary, Hate in the Beautiful Game, and Giambrone drafted the Code of Conduct outlining how homophobia should be dealt with when encountered both within the club itself and within the fan base. It is hoped that the Code of Conduct will be adopted by football...

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