York City backs anti-homophobia campaign

rainbow flag A rainbow flag will be presented on the pitch before kick-off, the club said

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York City has used its home game against Southend United to back a campaign against homophobia in football.

The club gave 100 match tickets to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organisation York Pride to support the Football v Homophobia campaign.

The campaign is inspired by the late Justin Fashanu, who was one of the world's first openly gay footballers.

Players also warmed up in Football v Homophobia t-shirts, the club said.

'Massive problem'

Club director Sophie Hicks said homophobia in football was the sport's "last and most stubborn taboo".

"As a sport, we have to reach a position where players feel comfortable being openly gay and sexuality is not an issue in the game."

Anti-homophobia announcements were made during the match against Southend and the rainbow flag was presented on the pitch before kick-off, the club said.

Greg Stephenson, chairman of York Pride, said while homophobia in football remained a "massive problem", things were slowly changing.

"There have been a few cases in the last few months of players coming out after they have retired, which was unheard of a few years ago, so we are getting there - but it just takes time."

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