As part of the FARE Network's Football People action weeks Sporting Pride hosted an event which brought together members of the LGBTQ+ community living in Direct Provision and Dublin's LGBTQ+ inclusive football teams for a day of fun, friendship and sport, all in the name of promoting inclusion and tackling discrimination in football. Read on below to find out more!
The #FootballPeople weeks is the largest campaign for social change and diversity in global football (1). As part of this campaign Sporting Pride hosted an event which would focus on the inclusive nature of sport while simultaneously highlighting the diverse nature of our own LGBTQ+ community in Ireland. A fun indoor football blitz which involved LGBTQ+ community members from different walks of life was organised and a date was set for Saturday October 12th in the YMCA, Dublin 1.
We invited members of Is Rainbow Muid (We Are Rainbow) to take part in the blitz. Is Rainbow Muid are a peer support group, facilitated by LGBT Ireland, who raise awareness of the challenges facing LGBT+ people living in Direct Provision in Ireland (2). They showed great enthusiasm in getting involved in this event, as did members of the Dublin Devils and Phoenix Tigers, who made up the remainder of our players.
Names were drawn from a hat to ensure the teams were evenly matched, with each team consisting of players of mixed abilities, from complete novices to seasoned footballers. Four teams of six were finalised (five a side with one sub each!) and all four teams played each other to determine who would battle it out in the final. The matches were eight minutes long but the high temperature in the hall ensured that every minute was felt by the players.
At the end of the two hour blitz the Reds emerged victorious following a 3-1 win over the Whites! Afterwards the players made their way down to the YMCA Hub space for some well deserved food and refreshments. This provided further opportunity for players to mingle and make connections with their peers.
To show our appreciation to those who took part medals were presented to all participants and small token prizes were given to the winners and runners up.
A handful of prizes were also presented to stand out players from the tournament who managed to excel in the hot conditions!
Is Rainbow Muid were kind enough to bring a number of t-shirts for us which we will wear with pride in the future. They carry a strong message which needs to be shared far and wide and we are delighted to support them in any way we can. This event has reinforced our belief that sport has the power to bring people together and really can cultivate positive change in the lives of those who participate.
To Find out more about the FARE Football People Weeks please visit their website at https://farenet.org/campaigns/footballpeople-action-weeks/
The pictures used above are courtesy of Lanre and the FARE Network. His time and efforts to capture the event are very much appreciated.