‘Allies Together’ FIFA 20 tournament unites fans

Published by Jon Holmes on

The FSA and Kick It Out’s #FansForDiversity campaign links up with Villa and Proud to stage virtual championship for football supporters’ groups…

It’s a battle for the crown – in lockdown! Fans across the country are currently contesting the next best thing to a real football trophy…

The FIFA 20 Tournament is a #FansForDiversity initiative and is the brainchild of Samuel Timms, the founder and chair of Villa and Proud.

Backed by the initiative’s parent organisations The FSA and Kick It Out, the competition has featured 32 entrants challenging for glory under the slogan ‘Allies Together’.

“It’s been great,” Samuel told Sports Media LGBT+. “All 32 places were snapped up within 24 hours, with great help from the FSA network in conjunction with Fans For Diversity.

“The tournament itself was initially planned around LGBT+ and ally groups. However, shortly after launching, we were inundated with messages from other supporters groups asking if they could be a part of this too.”

Samuel campaigns for inclusion in football with Villa and Proud, The FSA, Charlton Invicta FC and other organisations

By encouraging the various fans groups involved to interact with each other through playing games of FIFA, the tournament is helping to unite supporters at a time when so many people are feeling isolated and cut off.

“The unique thing about this tournament is we’ve created a network of football fans and supporters from all different backgrounds and groups, including faith, BAME, LGBT+ and other allies,” added Samuel.

“For example, a great ally of the LGBT community is Heart of the Holte. Players from each group representing their clubs have been interacting with the other groups to organise times and details, giving groups cause to follow each other, re-tweet and share all content together across social media.”

The teams are also helping to raise money for Mind Charity. You can donate here via JustGiving.

“We’re in unprecedented times – and everyone and their mental health is being tested in all kinds of ways that they maybe have never experienced before,” said Samuel.

We came up with the hashtag #AlliesTogether for the tournament because it encapsulates everyone – as we can all be allies of our differences but united by football.

Samuel Timms, Villa and Proud

“We could have chosen a specific LGBT+ mental health charity but we know that mental health can affect anyone and it does not discriminate.

“‘Mind’ will always offer their services to anyone that needs them. In these times, we need to be as one and not be divided. I hope that this tournament can help to support others.”

Here’s Saturday’s quarter-final results…

  • Heart of the Holte (Aston Villa) 3-2 Rainbow Blades (Sheffield Utd)
  • Proud Valiants (Charlton Athletic) 5-4 AET Kick It Out (as Man Utd)
  • Leeds Utd Supporters Trust (Leeds Utd) 10-1 Desi Dons (MK Dons)
  • TW8 Casual (Brentford) 1-3 Bengal Dragons (Cardiff City)

… and the results of Sunday’s two-legged semi-finals…

  • Bengal Dragons 1-10 agg Leeds Utd Supporters Trust
  • Proud Valiants 2-12 agg Heart of the Holte

So what happened in Monday’s final? Well, here’s the result and your champion…

Follow @VillaAndProud on Twitter.

Jon Holmes

Digital Sports Editor