just a ball game

Kick homophobia out of sport - just a ball game?

JBG? Blog and News

JBG? International Women's day 2021- guest blog from historian Steve Bolton.

JBG? International Women's day 2021- guest blog feature from historian Steve Bolton.  As part of Women's History Month and our International Women's day focus leading up to 8th March, here at JUST A BALL GAME? we would like to offer you this read and link to the full article from our friend, historianSteve Bolton whose gran  Lizzy Ashcroft played alongside Lily Parr in the famous Dick, Kerr Ladies team. We would also like to give thanks to Margaret, editor-in-chief of  www.playingpasts.co.uk    (Source: Lizzy Ashcroft Collection)   “I Would Like To Begin Again This Day” These beautiful words bring a tear to my eye. They were written to my granny Lizzy Ashcroft by French Footballer Andree Gaukler. On the top left we see: Lizzy Ashcroft, Friend, Andree Gaukler, Margaret Thornborough and Lily Parr. On the top right we see: Margaret Thornborough, Carmen Pomies and Lizzy Ashcroft. The amazing photos above show my granny mucking around with her football mates without a care in the world. Two words spring to my mind: JOY and FREEDOM. My granny had a hard life and I was so overjoyed to find this treasure trove of photographs and witness the good times she had in the 1930s. I wrote an article recently about her friend and captain Lily Parr. The Lily Parr 'nonsense industry’ is out of control and at times is very disrespectful to one of our top athletes. This is my short tribute to my granny’s old mucker…   Lily Parr - An Amateur Cricketer, Hockey Player + Footballer. My Tribute to My Granny Lizzy Ashcroft’s Great Friend https://www.playingpasts.co.uk/articles/football/lily-parramateur-cricketer-hockey-player-footballermy-tribute-to-my-granny-lizzy-ashcrofts-great-friend/

Published on - Mon, 01 Mar 2021

GMB North West & Irish Trade Union presented with the JUST A BALL GAME? 2020/21 Tackling HBT bullying award.

 JUST A BALL GAME?                                                                               MEDIA RELEASE                                      
    
©   2018-2023.
  GMB North West & Irish Trade Union presented with the JUST A BALL GAME? 2020/21 Tackling HBT bullying award. JUST A BALL GAME? (JBG?) are delighted to announce that trade union region GMB NW&I have been recognised for their efforts on challenging discrimination and raising awareness around LGBT+ inclusion and visibility with the JBG? annual award. The subdued ceremony has taken place during 2021 LGBT+ History Month and formed part of the organisations 10 year anniversary.   The silver salver award took place as part of the regions Shout! LGBT+ network event and was handed over to regional secretary Paul McCarthy and political officer Neil Smith by Ann O’Byrne, a Liverpool Labour Councillor.  
Over the past 18 months the trade union staff and members have given fantastic support to JBG? alongside the network of local LGBT+ members and strived to make work places inclusive and LGBT+ people feel represented and included in all aspects of activism and educational work platforms.         On being presented with the award Mr McCarthy expressed, “On Behalf of our GMB NW&I Region, I am delighted in receiving this reward for the work which champions our LGBT+ commitment and strengthens everything which equality stands for in a modern society. Thank you to Just A Ball Game? for this award and we look forward to equality for all of our LGBT+ members.”
 GMB National President Barbara Plant attending the event and also a patron of JBG? stated, “GMB North West and Irish region has always been a staunch supporter of Just A Ball Game? They are worthy winners of this award, which recognises their commitment to LGBT+ inclusivity and equality. I was pleased to being able to see them receive it at the region's recent on-line LGBT+ event.”       Founder of JBG? Lindsay England expressed, “GMB NW&I are extremely deserving of this award for their time, efforts and compassion shown to LGBT+ members and a wider audience. They are always available to listen, learn and lead on issues and proposals of equality inclusion and diversity. Anyone looking at joining a trade union would instantly benefit from their advocacy. We are proud to call them comrades.”
    In 2020 JBG? compiled a survey on HBT abuse in sport and released a report highlighting that some progress has been made over the past decade but also detailed how much more work still needs to be done to ensure the workplace of a sporting environment is a welcoming one for LGBT+ people and their allies: http://www.justaballgame.co.uk/blog#JBG?surveyfi     End.     Contact for further information: Founder-Lindsay England: djlindsayengland@gmail.com info@justaballgame.co.uk    

Published on - Fri, 26 Feb 2021

Our new JBG? partnership with Keighley Albion RL FC

COUGARS SUPPORT ALBION TO TACKLE DISCRIMINATION IN KEIGHLEY,
WITH THE FIRST INCLUSIVITY PARTNERSHIP IN UK COMMUNITY RUGBY LEAGUE.
 
Keighley Albion are proud to announce that we have become a recognised partner club to the Just a ball game? organisation.
The official partnership is the first of its kind between a Community Rugby League Club and an organisation founded on promoting inclusivity in Grassroots Sports.
WHO ARE JUST A BALL GAME?
Just a Ball Game? (JABG?) encourage and promote inclusivity in sport environments, helping to support all the protected characteristics (in the Equality Act 2010): age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; and sexual orientation.
Having recently celebrated their tenth anniversary, JABG? have a developed a fantastic reputation through their work in sport, and in 2019 they won the UK Prime Minister Points of Light Award for LGBT+ inclusion in sport. The organisation have made a fantastic impact in grassroots football, with successful existing partner club relationships with Bradford City, F.C United of Manchester and AFC Rushden and Diamonds.
The organisation also have the support of several passionate and notable patrons, including Neville Southall (former Welsh International footballer), Edward Lord OBE (Chair of the London English Football Football Association. Inclusion Advisory Group) and Phuti Lekoloane (the first ‘out’ gay male professional footballer in South African Football). 
 
 
THE INVOLVEMENT OF THE RFL, ALBION AND COUGARS:
The Rugby Football League are passionate about promoting inclusivity in the sport, and as recent as October 2020, the governing body published a sport-wide action plan to make Rugby League a truly inclusive sport by tackling discrimination and breaking down any barriers to involvement. The “Tackle It” initiative includes actions on player and coach recruitment and development, talent inclusion and progression, community outreach and club development, as well as ensuring zero tolerance of all forms of discrimination within the game.
 
As a proud and reputable community club in the sport (Being one of Yorkshire’s biggest clubs) Keighley Albion are passionate about promoting inclusivity, equality and diversity across all levels. With over 300 registered club members, (with mixed gender teams from 3-11 years old, U12-U18 gender specific teams, and Open Age Men’s and Ladies teams), the club prides itself on encouraging the participation of all players, creating a respectful and safe environment.
There is also a mutual connect between Keighley Albion and JABG, with former player Reece Robertson being a patron of the organisation. When Reece came out as gay whilst playing for Albions open age side, the news was welcomed by his teammates, and likewise supported by the club.
 
 
 The partnership between Albion and JABG has also been endorsed by the towns professional team Keighley Cougars, as well as the Cougars Foundation.
The Cougars are fantastic ambassadors for inclusivity, and in 2019 the club hosted Rugby Leagues first ever PRIDE Event, with the innovative match day experience receiving a fantastic response from the community and the sport of Rugby League. The Cougars are famously the first ever sports club to be owned by a married same-sex couple in Ryan O’Neil and Kaue Garcia, and undoubtedly the message of inclusivity is one very close to the clubs heart. In line with the Foundations Community policy, players will be going out into the local Keighley community, including sports clubs and schools, to discuss inclusivity with local people.
COMMENTS ON THE PARTNERSHIP:
Albion Committee Member, Rob Spencer:
We are really excited about the announcement and partnership with Just a Ball Game? as we look to change the perception of Rugby League in Keighley from a stereotyped ‘tough mans game’ to a sport and social environment where everyone is welcome.
We have to engage with our community and ensure that our club is more representative of its demographics. In the 2011 census, the largest social groups in the Keighley Parish outside those described as White, were Asian/Asian British (23.5%) and Black/African/Caribbean/Black British (0.7%). For the purposes of social integration, and in the interests of encouraging healthy lifestyles and positive lifestyle choices, better engagement with communities is of paramount importance - and our partnership with JABG? will help us to achieve these aims.
 
 
 I was heavily inspired by the Keighley Cougars Pride Day in 2019, having taken my U6 primary age group to take part in the curtain raiser. Having spoken initially to the clubs owner Ryan O’Neill regarding the partnership - it was great to hear that both the Cougars and the Foundation would endorse and support the partnership, and we would like to thank Cougars for their ongoing support.
Keighley Albion Chairman, Richard Dibbin:
We are delighted and proud to have made this partnership, we are the first amateur Rugby League club to have become a partner of JABG?, and the first community club in the sport to seek such a partnership - this speaks volumes on the type of club we want to build here. Rugby League is one of the greatest character building team sports, and everyone should feel confident and comfortable to take part.
We have started making plans to support the partnership including introducing an Inclusion Officer to our clubs committee. This role will be carried out by Maria Wild, who will help to promote, educate and implement interventions to encourage the awareness of inclusivity at club level. We have also started discussing hosting a pride festival that will include all our junior teams participating in a tournament with off field activities and entertainment. 
 
 
 
Lindsay England, Founder of JUST A BALL GAME?:
"We are very excited to have formed a partnership with Keighley Albion Rugby League FC and look forward to working with them on all things equality, inclusion and diversity."
"True acceptance and respect are generally all LGBT+ people expect from others, and many LGBT+ struggles have been won in the hearts and minds of the community."
With the passion of both the junior/amateur game alongside the towns professional club to promote inclusivity in Keighley, there will certainly be a fantastic impact in the local community.
 
More information on the partnership and JABG? can be found on the following links:
Keighley Albions JABG? Partner Club Profile:
http://www.justaballgame.co.uk/partners/partner-clubs
 
TWITTER: @justaballgame
INSTAGRAM: @justaballgame
FACEBOOK:
https://www.facebook.com/justaballgame
 

Published on - Mon, 07 Dec 2020

JBG? survey finds almost three quarters of LGBT+ people need a safe space to participate in sport.

JBG? survey finds almost three quarters of LGBT+ people need a safe space to participate in sport.JBG? THE SURVEY-2020 HOMOPHOBIA, BIPHOBIA and TRANSPHOBIA IN SPORT LGBT+ campaign organisation JUST A BALL GAME? (JBG?) work to raise awareness around inclusion and visibility for LGBT+ people in football and other sports. As part of our 10th birthday celebrations we have released our report from the survey we conducted earlier this year. The research published in the documentation was conducted by Lindsay England, founder of “Just a Ball Game?” (JBG?) in partnership with Peter Millward (Professor of Contemporary Sociology, Liverpool John Moores University). This survey is a 10 year on follow up from the original piece of research which was conducted by JBG? a decade ago. Some of the key findings are as follows: 1.     Just over 73.30 percent of survey participants feel the need to participate in sport or leisure activities in a ‘safe space’ by being part of an LGBT+, or an LGBT+ friendly club or inclusive of all group. 2.     Only 58 out of 133 who responded to the question ‘’Do you feel satisfied with the responses you got when you reported the homophobia, biphobia or transphobia?’’ felt that the response they got after reporting the bigotry was satisfactory. This figure highlights the need for further sensitivity and improvements. 3.     Findings underline those across the survey in highlighting modest improvements in the landscape but still much work to be carried out given that the prevalence of LGBT+ discrimination continues to be high. Former Everton and Wales goalkeeper (who is also a patron of JBG?) Neville Southall wrote as part of the foreward for the report: “As an ally to the LGBTQ+ community I find it sad that they are still finding that sport still has many barriers for them.” 
    Chair of AFC Rushden &Diamonds Ralph Burditt says, “"It's excellent to see the results of the excellent work that JBG? have done in compiling this data. We have long known that sport has issues with discrimination on the basis of sexuality, but understanding the detail around this, where the specific problems lie and how the issues are changing with time is a vital next step in working towards a discrimination-free future." Former professional player and another of JBG?’s patron Adam McCabe had this to say on the report: “The JBG? report is a valuable tool that highlights the necessity to continue fighting for inclusion in football. As seen recently in the USL Championship regarding the abuse received by Collin Martin, it is as important as ever to educate, define and report issues surrounding all forms of abuse in football. The JBG? report does an excellent job not only highlighting how far the game has come, but also how far we still have to go.” The report can be read in full here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1sfLFDwfyZn4PgV-jLVlIJ4zq0f5raPy_m36XjC55ptw/edit?usp=sharing It can also be accessed from our blog and website, http://www.justaballgame.co.uk/blog alternatively you can request a PDF file. End.     Contact for further information: Founder-Lindsay England info@justaballgame.co.uk   

Published on - Mon, 09 Nov 2020

The Football Colective Interview 2020.

 
 Football Collective Interview.https://drive.google.com/file/d/104LDvcaBZzrZChe10nH75Oan7qtiokGi/view?usp=sharing In 2020. founder of JUST A BALL GAME? Lindsay England gave an interview to Peter Millward on behalf of the Football Collective: Lindsay England, Just A Ball Game? and (Bradford City LGBT+ Fan ClubLGBT+ Lionesses Fan Club) - Interview, 5 March 2020, LiverpoolA        InterviewerB        Interviewee “So thank you Lindsay.  Erm, one thing as I’ve been undertaking this research is I’ve found out that you’re, well you’re really busy on the network aren’t you?  You’re really busy and you’ve got many roles through the Just A Ball Game? founder, the Bradford City LGBT+ Fan club co-founder and many others.  If we can start chronologically, is it the 10th birthday of Just A Ball Game? this year?”B    “It will be, November 9th, 9/11, the official 9/11 if you want to see it like that.  It just happened like that, I never really thought about that to begin with, it was just down to officially, yeah, we did launch Just A Ball Game? as a campaign organisation on the 9th of November 2010.”A    “And did I notice that it was originally going to be a more light hearted, Roberto Carlos’s Thighs?”B    “Yeah so it originally Just A Ball Game? existed as a blog, so early 2009 I was doing a lot of voluntary work for what was then LGF Lesbian and Gay Foundation in Manchester, a couple of people I knew there were part of their North West Magazine editorial team and they wanted to touch on bits of sport cos they were interested in sport as well and it was something that was getting more and more prominence in the LGBT+ scene, not just in Manchester but across the country.  There was probably something like 25-26 different LGBT+ sports teams at that time in Manchester and had all been running for some time. So there was enough to focus on there plus all the work that I’d been doing myself and it made sense to do something as a short column for the on-line magazine and also the printed magazine that they had.  We got a great response from that and decided to set the blog up under the same name because yes the column in the Out North West Magazine was called Roberto Carlos’s Thighs and why not, if you’re gonna have a gay column about sport, why not, you know, he has got the best thighs in football, come on, at the end of the day.”A    “They could welly a ball as well couldn’t they?”B    “Yeah and he’s a great guy.” FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW CLICK ON THE LINK:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/104LDvcaBZzrZChe10nH75Oan7qtiokGi/view?usp=sharing  
FOR MORE INFO ON THE FOOTBALL COLLECTIVE VISIT : https://www.facebook.com/TheFootballCollective/about/?ref=page_internal 
WHAT IS THE FOOTBALL COLLECTIVE?
The Football Collective is dedicated network of people who wish to bring critical debate to football – for those interested and involved in building football for the future. Through sharp analysis and research informed original reporting, we aim to provide a platform for thought provoking critical debate in football.
Our manifesto is simple:
We are a network bringing critical debate to our game
To achieve this The Football Collective has two main aims:
Aim 1: Deliver high quality events that provide a platform for critical and collegiate support, the dissemination and discussion of research findings, the development of research ideas and the enhancement of collaboration across the collective. Watch this space for our first conference in Manchester, December 2016.
Aim 2: To show case best practice and help share academic peer reviewed research in an accessible and understandable format for all. This includes:
- Share evidenced based commentary on football issues
- Disseminate peer reviewed research on football
- Open debate around key issues in related to football
All research published on The Football Collectives is Edited by the Collective Board. The Collective Board ensures that research contributions are current, relevant, appropriate and ethical, whilst also providing an informal peer review support for contributors.

Published on - Mon, 26 Oct 2020

JBG? team up with GMB Shout! NW with donation to homeless refuge.

           
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JBG? team up with GMB Shout! NW with donation to homeless refuge.
 
With this year's Manchester Pride cancelled because of the Covid-19 situation, GMB Shout! NW teamed up with JUST A BALL GAME? and put their time and effort into making a donation of food and toiletries to TRAMWAYS who provide emergency accommodation for the homeless.
The items were gratefully received by the business owner Sonia, who thanked everyone for "The very generous donation given, " and staff member Stewart at the Bolton refuge.
The handover of items was also supported by local GMB Bolton23 branch president Jo Pitchford and branch secretary Alan Flatley along with GMB NW&I political officer Neil Smith. They were all joined by
JBG? founder Lindsay England who works for Events Security Services at the complex.
 
Several months ago an online poll of 2,109 people by YouGov on behalf of the LGBT youth homelessness  charity AKT (formerly known as the Albert Kennedy Trust) found a quarter of adults in the UK would not feel proud to have an LGBT+ child, as part of a new study.
They  asked people how they would feel in a range of scenarios if they had a child who came out to them as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, other.
When respondents were asked whether they would “feel proud to have an LGBT child”, 26 per cent of those polled disagreed.
Less than half (46 per cent) of people surveyed agreed with the statement that they would feel proud to have a child who had come out. We know that LGBT+ youth are disproportionately likely to experience homelessness, comprising as high as 40%  of the total population of youth experiencing homelessness. LGBT+  and young people of colour reported twice the rate of homelessness compared to white LGBT+ youngsters. 
 
   

Published on - Mon, 31 Aug 2020

JBG? – HOMOPHOBIA, BIPHOBIA AND TRANSPHOBIA IN SPORT SURVEY.

JUST A BALL GAME?  MEDIA RELEASE                                      
JBG? – HOMOPHOBIA, BIPHOBIA AND TRANSPHOBIA  IN SPORT SURVEY.
Violence, Harassment and repression of LGBT+ people still exists globally. 
Annually on May17th, IDAHOBIT- International Day Against Homophobia Biphobia and Transphobia is a co-ordinated International grass roots community date to raise awareness around LGBT+ visibility and inclusion, alongside encouraging society to take action against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.
For this year’s IDAHOBIT theme of ‘Breaking The Silence’ JUST A BALL GAME? (JBG?) in partnership with LGBT Dorset Equality Network, have released a survey:  https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/justaballgame/ looking at homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in sport.
It is hoped that whatever the outcomes, and/or differences found to our survey results (and therefore hard evidence collated for use) a decade ago, we can implement the findings to engage in dialog with the policy makers, NGB’s, the media, employers and general public to take action against any discrimination, persecution or hate crime which LGBT+ people face.
Despite advancement over recent years with some athletes ‘coming out’ sports are still very much an area of perceived male, masculine dominance and achievement. Along with the breaking down of these stereotypes and challenging sexism and misogyny there is also a need to try and eradicate to a minimum all forms of discrimination. 
Our survey is anonymous, it will take you around 5 minutes to sign into and complete and will be available to fill out until 11th July 2020.
We have allocated inclusive questions for both LGBT+ people and those who identify as heterosexual to answer to try and establish a balanced overview of what is relevant to all in 2020.
Survey link: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/justaballgame/
End.
Contact for further information:
info@justaballgame.co.uk  

Published on - Sat, 16 May 2020

Phuti Lekoloane becomes a patron of JUST A BALL GAME?

Phuti Lekoloane becomes a patron of JUST A BALL GAME?
South African full time goalkeeper Phuti Lekoloane becomes a patron of JUST A BALL GAME? 
As LGBT History Month 2020 kicks off, here at JUST A BALL GAME? (JBG?) we are happy to announce that the only ‘out’ gay South African full time footballer, Makapanstad Romans’ goalkeeper Phuti Lekoloane joins us as a patron.
Co-Chair of (JBG?) Alan Mercel-Sanca says, “We feel privileged when athletes from across the globe join our campaign and are excited at having Phuti on board.”   
Phuti wasn’t always a keeper, during his school days at Nkoana Primary and then Alan Ridge combined school he began his playing days as a right winger and sometimes a striker. 
Sadly Phuti faced bullying at a young age and in those days considered this to be the norm. He quit the game, and instead played netball. Physical harm followed when he was in his teenage years and it’s there realisation kicked in that this discrimination was wrong.
As a full time player Phuti also faced much discrimination and homophobia so it took some years to settle with a team and be accepted. Looking back to when he joined Tornardo FC the best thing about his time there was, Phuti says, “It’s that I was allowed to be myself and express myself all the time. I think the most important thing was I was never reminded that I am sexually different to others, the brotherhood was on another level.”
When asked about his thoughts on joining JBG? and being an ‘out and proud role model’ Phuti says, “ There are big responsibilities in shaping the future of the next generation of young LGBT+ athletes and taking the bait – I’ll help to create a safe space for them.”
info@justaballgame.co.uk  

Published on - Sat, 01 Feb 2020

JBG? 9th Birthday Celebrations.

                         JBG? 9th Birthday Celebrations.
             HAPPY 9th BIRTHDAY JUST S BALL GAME?
Following on from planned 9th birthday celebrations JUST A BALL GAME? extended events to a whole week so as to enable our friends and partners to participate alongside our committee members and volunteers.
We are therefore happy to report that the following 9 events took place headed up by JBG? and also the two LGBT+ fan groups of Bradford City and England Lionesses whom we project mange.
No1.
We travelled to London and held meetings with both new and existing partners to arrange events for February 2020 as part of LGBT History Month.
No2.
We attended the Underground Fan club Lucozade event which was a warm for fans and media folks from within the women’s game prior to the international friendly next day.
No3.
We had a meeting with Skye Stewart chair person of Black Country Fusion FC, handing over some training bibs for the ladies team and we are proud to announce that Skye also agreed to come on board with JBG? in a more official role as our second trustee/ambassador.
No4.
We held our 9th birthday party in the Premier Inn Wembley Stadium (a hotel we often use or recommend for folks who need accommodation in the North London area) complete with cake, party bags and refreshments for our friends and volunteers, and we had space to showcase our resources and banners to the general public using the hotel.
No5.
We had the pleasure of being joined by GMB trade union’s National President Barbara Plant who is one of our JBG? patrons , and on our behalf kindly made a presentation to Skye Stewart in recognition of the LGBT+ inclusion work done by Black Country Fusion FC. Each year we thank an individual, team/club or group or organization who have helped us challenge homophobic, biphobic or transphobic bullying and this year JBG? presented the silver salver to Skye for the tremendous work done by everyone at the club in grass roots football and beyond.
No.6
We took several GMB trade union members who are LGBT+ to the England Lionesses game at Wembley stadium thanking them for their support as members of LGBT Lionesses fan group which JBG? project manage. A great day was had by all and we accommodated our disability members and had a presence inside the stadium with numerous LGBT+ inclusive flags and banners while cheering the team for the historic match.
No7.
We presented the new kit to our JBG? ladies 5’s team who play Tuesday evenings at Goals Manchester.
No8.
We thanked GMB North West & Irish trade union for their funding over the past 12 months which enabled us to continue with much needed educational sessions, attend meetings and conferences, local pride events and also replenish some of our stocks of resources when we presented framed JBG? football shirts to the Regional Secretary Paul McCarthy and Equality Officer Lisa Ryan.
No9.
We celebrated our birthday during weekend long working group meetings in Bremen Germany with our partners from Queer Football Fanclubs. Our project managed Bradford City LGBT fan group are members of QFF and JBG? have partnered and supported the European network of fan clubs for over a decade.
A fantastic year and we are already looking forward to and planning for 2020 celebrations!
Best wishes, team JBG?

Published on - Tue, 19 Nov 2019

JBG? Media: Rapinoe's heart-warming moment with inspiring fan.

JUST A BALL GAME? Media: Rapinoe's heart-warming moment with inspiring fan.                            
                                                             
Our JUST A BALL GAME? founder Lindsay England was invited by FIFA TV to Milan for THE BEST awards, while there a film was made with Women’s Player award winner Megan Rapione. 
Here is the link to the film:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSPcizX6r9M&fbclid=IwAR15WwlPC0lBbdJeEy1ZIG20CZkgszMXqPoRUi5uieMm8_01JUVyGpYCLcI Photos from downtime during filming.

Published on - Fri, 11 Oct 2019