Liga MX, MLS and NWSL teams unite in bid to eliminate homophobia

by Reuters
Tuesday, 12 April 2022 08:21 GMT

National League North - Altrincham FC v Bradford (Park Avenue) A.F.C. - The J Davidson Stadium, Altrincham, Britain - February 16, 2019 General view of a Altrincham FC shirt with the colours of LGBT pride hung up in the dressing room before the match REUTERS/Phil Noble

Image Caption and Rights Information

As homophobic abuse persists in football, teams from around the world have united to make the sport safer for LGBTQ+ people

April 8 (Reuters) - Teams from Liga MX, Major League Soccer (MLS) and the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) and others have formed a coalition to eliminate homophobia from soccer, the group said on Friday.

Play Proud United will bring together Angel City FC, Chicago Fire, Philadelphia Union, San Diego Wave FC and Tigres to a five-day residential training program in Los Angeles on April 11, under the auspices of the "Common Goal" soccer movement.

A second training is expected in December with Tigres hosting, with the goal to make stadiums and the soccer community a safer place for the LGBTQ+ community.

Homophobic abuse has persisted in the sport and FIFA sanctioned the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) 12 times for homophobic chanting during their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Liga MX in July last year said it would remove fans from stadiums for making homophobic chants.

A month later, a joint All-Star game between MLS and Liga MX was put on hold because of anti-gay chants.

In the Premier League, Everton condemned supporters for anti-gay chants against a Chelsea player in December and in January Adelaide United's Josh Cavallo called out homophobic abuse he faced in a game against Melbourne Victory.

"We're focused on what the soccer industry has the potential to become, and we are creating tangible ways to facilitate this positive transformation," Play Proud founder Lilli Barrett-O'Keefe said in a statement.

Clubs will send travel delegations that include one team representative and a leader of their supporters' group, as well as a "community-based" soccer coach from their home city.

"We have seen the evolution of LGBTQ+ visibility on the global and national stage and we are excited to implement this groundbreaking curriculum in our community," said Wave FC President Jill Ellis, who coached the United States to two World Cup titles.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York, editing by Ed Osmond)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.