Kent FA runs course to encourage gay referees

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Gay people in Kent with an interest in football have been urged to consider becoming referees.

A series of refereeing courses aimed at gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are being organised by the Kent Football Association.

The courses in November are part of a pilot project from the FA.

Inclusion officer Stephanie Gadd said some people were "anxious" about getting involved due to a fear of prejudice.

She said: "I think there is a degree of anxiety, perhaps a fear of reception in terms of how their team-mates and the spectators deal with that.

"I think that's largely due to the culture that surrounds football."

In Sussex, homophobic abuse is frequently aimed at Brighton and Hove Albion due to the city's connection with the gay community.

And Dave Raval, who is taking part in the forthcoming Kent FA courses and has been an openly gay football referee for more than 20 years, said people were scared to talk about homosexuality in football.

He said he wanted to encourage people to be their "very best in football".

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