Updated: Friday, 31st October 2014 @ 7:13pm

Premier League clubs unite against homophobia in sport following BBC Three documentary

Premier League clubs unite against homophobia in sport following BBC Three documentary

By James McLaughlin

Premier League clubs signed up to an anti-homophobia charter yesterday, following a recent BBC Three documentary.

Britain's Gay Footballers aired on Monday night highlighting a lack of publicly gay professional footballers since ex-Manchester City player Justin Fashanu came out in 1990.

The government charter against homophobia and transphobia in sport was launched in June 2011 and all 20 Premier League clubs joined nearly 3,000 individuals and clubs when they signed today.

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore said: “When the Sports Charter to tackle homophobia and transphobia in sport was launched in June 2011 the Premier League signed it and we are pleased to re-affirm our commitment to it today with each of our clubs signing it individually.”

Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone echoed Mr Scudamore’s sentiments saying: “Nearly 3,000 individuals and clubs have already signed up and I'm delighted that Premier League clubs have taken a stand by signing the Charter too. 

“It sends a really strong signal when clubs in the best league in the world say enough is enough."

Chairman of the Gay Football Supporters' Network (GFSN), Chris Basiurski said: “With the recent BBC Three documentary highlighting that the issue of homophobia is prevalent in the game today, creating a safe and tolerant atmosphere in football for LGBT people has never been more important.”

Mr Basiurski added: “We are delighted that the Premier League clubs have decided to sign the Government’s charter but we are conscious that is just the first step."

The GFSN confirmed that it will be writing to the Premier League clubs, thanking them for signing the charter and monitoring their progress towards eliminating homophobia.

During the documentary, former City midfielder Joey Barton spoke out against 'archaic figures' within the game who appear to be halting the progress of welcoming homosexuality in football.

The feature was well received by The Justin Campaign, named after the focal figure of the programme.

A spokesperson for The Justin Campaign  said: “The campaign was extremely moved and proud to see Justin Fashanu, the man after whom we named our voluntary organisation, being discussed in such a respectful and positive manner.”

The Justin Campaign spokesperson added: “The contribution of QPR player Joey Barton must be applauded and highly commended.

“Having a high-profile player like Barton speak up on the issue will make young people, who look up to him, think again about using homophobic language.”

The commitment by Premier League clubs comes amid LGBT History month and ahead of the international awareness initiative set up by The Justin Campaign – Homophobia v Football.

In its third year, the event will run from February 18 to 25 and has previously seen football matches organised across Europe in aid of the cause.

Last year also saw a panel event against homophobia in the sport held at Manchester's Waterside Plaza, Sale.

Further information on the charter is available at http://homeoffice.gov.uk/equalities/lgbt/sports-charter/ and 'Football v Homophobia' on http://www.footballvhomophobia.com/.