LGBTQ+ group launched for players, professionals in football

An organisation for LGBTQ+ professionals in the football industry was launched on Thursday with the aim to provide further support for players, coaches, referees and others employed in the game.

The group, called LGBTQ+ Professionals in Football Collective, has 20 founding members including Leatherhead manager Luke Tuffs, Women's Super League and FIFA referee Stacey Pearson and Crystal Palace goalkeeper Chloe Morgan.

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The news comes after Blackpool's Jake Daniels became the first active openly gay professional male footballer in the UK since 1990 after coming out publicly in May. He became only the second active openly gay male footballer in the world after Adelaide United's Josh Cavallo came out in October 2021.

"We're offering a safe space to LGBTQ+ people and active allies -- individuals who advocate for LGBTQ+ inclusion and help challenge homophobia, lesbophobia, biphobia and transphobia -- across professional and semi-pro football in which they can access and provide mutual support," Chris Paouros, a founding member and vice-chair of Kick It Out, said.

The organisation is supported by the Football Association and Kick It Out, among others.

"For those of us who are able to be visible, we'll grow that representation in the game and use our collective voice with the goal of making positive change and showing that football is in fact an industry of choice for LGBTQ+ people," Paouros added.