The RAF, journalists, fans and University of Greenwich all to be represented in Charlton v Homophobia tournament

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Charlton Athletic, in association with the Proud Valiants and Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT), will host the third annual Charlton v Homophobia tournament at The Valley on Tuesday, May 22nd at 6pm to help raise the profile of LGBTQI+ football.

This year, for the first time, an RAF representative team and a team of journalists will take part in the six-team tournament. Two time champions the University of Greenwich and Fans For Diversity will return after playing in last year’s tournament.

The tournament is free for fans to come and watch and teams now confirmed include:

  • Proud Valiants – the official Charlton Athletic supporters groups for LGBTQI+ fans
  • CACT Invicta – the first ever dedicated LGBT-friendly football team to be affiliated with a professional football club trust
  • Fans For Diversity
  • University of Greenwich
  • RAF XI
  • The Journalists – a team made up of national, regional and local journalists

Proud Valiants chair Rob Harris said: “I’m delighted we’re able to welcome two new teams to the tournament this year as the event continues to grow.”

University of Greenwich Head of Sports Strategy Marianne Boyle said: “The university is a proud member of the Stonewall Diversity Champions programme and the positive development of LGBTQI+ related equality & diversity support and representation is very important to the University. It is an absolute honour to be part of such a fantastic awareness raising tournament for the third year running and, whilst we wish all those participating the best of luck, as the champions for the last two years we are hoping to make it third time lucky for University of Greenwich students and staff team.” 

Flight Lieutenant Scott Hyndman said: “We are delighted to represent the Royal Air Force at the Charlton v Homophobia tournament. As a Service we have faced our own challenges in the past with regards to the inclusivity of LGBT personnel, but in recent years we have made much progress, primarily by raising and challenging issues surrounding homophobia. Football is very similar in terms of the challenges it faces and we believe that no matter what your sexual orientation is, football is a sport for all and everyone should feel welcome within the game.”

Fans for Diversity Campaign Coordinator Anwar Uddin of the Football Supporters Federation said: “It’s amazing that a club the size of Charlton opens its doors to the community and allows fans the opportunity to play in the stadium under the lights. We have had well over 100 fans request to play for the Fans for Diversity side so we are looking forward to what will be a great night. For me the best thing about football is that it brings people together and this is a fine example of that.” 

Sky Sports journalist Jon Holmes, who will play on The Journalists team, said: “We’re delighted to have been invited to step out of the Valley press box and onto the pitch, particularly for a tournament with such an important theme. As a club and as a community trust, Charlton continue to demonstrate clearly that LGBT+ people are welcome and valued in football - and that’s a message those of us in the media must always participate in communicating too.”

Last year’s tournament was a huge success and contributed to Charlton Athletic and its Community Trust winning the London regional award for Community Club of the Year at the 2018 EFL Awards.

The tournament continues the club and trust’s commitment to raising the profile of LGBTQI+ football which includes:

  • A dedicated Charlton Athletic matchday each season to Football v Homophobia
  • The continued support of the Proud Valiants, one of the country’s first supporter groups for LGBTQI+ fans
  • CACT affiliating with CACT Invicta
  • CACT deliver a wide range of programmes designed to promote equality and tackle discrimination, including issues relating to identity, gender and prejudice