Exeter City alongside Arsenal and Man Utd on Football v Homophobia Awards 2024 shortlist

Published by Jon Holmes on

League One club will go up against Premier League giants in the Professional Club category; shortlists in 10 more categories announced; the gala ceremony will be held at the National Football Museum in Manchester on February 23…

By Jon Holmes

The category shortlists for the fifth annual Football v Homophobia Awards have been announced, ahead of the event’s gala night in Manchester on February 23.

Once again, the National Football Museum will play host to the ceremony where LGBTQ+ people and allies from across the beautiful game will come together in a celebration of community.

In 2023, winners of the first-place trophies included Sheffield United and Tottenham fan group Proud Lilywhites, while a special award was given by the PFA to teenage Blackpool striker Jake Daniels after his history-making coming out moment the previous May.

This year, the Awards will take place during the 15th annual Month of Action of the FvH campaign.

Tickets for the event are now SOLD OUT.

Here are the shortlists for the FvH Awards 2024…

Professional Club Award, sponsored by EFL

Arsenal FC; Exeter City FC; Manchester United FC

Ongoing and strong club support for the Gay Gooners in 2023 as part of the wider ‘Arsenal for Everyone’ initiative helped to earn recognition for the Gunners. Exeter’s extensive, visible activations throughout the year also caught the eye of the judges, as did Man Utd’s efforts to eradicate discriminatory chanting in conjunction with fans group Rainbow Devils, alongside events such as ‘One Love Live’ and the Foundation’s work with local LGBTQ+ youth.

Non-League Club Award

Chesterfield FC; Dulwich Hamlet FC; York City FC

From education around equality to the establishment of the Rainbow Spireites group, National League front-runners Chesterfield are among the clubs between Steps 5 and 8 who are setting the standard in inclusion too. Also in the National League, York City impressed with their intersectional and vibrant approach to activating the FvH campaign. In the Isthmian Premier, Dulwich’s commitment to diversity sees them shortlisted for a third consecutive year.

Supporters’ Group Award

Gay Gooners (Arsenal); Proud Baggies (West Bromwich Albion); Rainbow Blades (Sheffield United)

Marking the group’s 10th anniversary year, Gay Gooners raised their game to an even higher level, reaching fans far and wide through media appearances while also working with club colleagues to make matchday experiences at the Emirates even more inclusive. Two-time award winners Proud Baggies return to the shortlist after adding regular playing sessions to a long list of community engagements. Last year’s runners-up Rainbow Blades led the way on a regional alliance that has helped to energise the LGBTQ fan group movement across a sizeable chunk of the country.

Football Media Award

Emma Smith; Jacob Leeks; Ronnie Charters

In a Women’s World Cup year, Emma Smith provided visible and motivational representation for the trans community at the tournament itself, and for LGBTQ+ people more broadly through the content she contributed for BBC Sport. Reporter Jacob Leeks, who claimed first prize in the inaugural category last time out, again produced a series of articles for Mirror Football highlighting the fight against homophobia in the game as well as interviews amplifying community voices. Both on and off screen, STV sports reporter Ronnie Charters looked to bring LGBTQ people in Scottish sports into the conversations while adding his own voice constructively too, in a bid to drive change.

English County FA Award

Lincolnshire FA; Norfolk County FA; Staffordshire FA

Chasing back-to-back wins, Lincolnshire FA have introduced an LGBTQ+-inclusion accreditation programme for clubs, and recreational sessions that continue to grow in terms of numbers of participants and wider awareness. Norfolk County FA has relaunched a similar programme for clubs while also engaging LGBTQ+ and allies who are staff members in content for social media. Meanwhile, Staffs FA activations include setting up an Inclusion Champion network and putting on workshops and webinars designed to encourage cultural change.

FvH Scotland Award

Gender Goals; Ibrox Pride (Rangers FC); Ronnie Charters

It’s a great football success story – a 10-week set of introductory football sessions in Glasgow has developed into Gender Goals, Scotland’s first club focused on trans and non-binary inclusion. Staying in the city, Ibrox Pride have patiently and proactively worked with Rangers to ensure LGBTQ+ fans feel more welcome both inside and outside of the stadium. In terms of reach, Ronnie Charters is certainly doing his bit as an out and proud gay man working on the STV News at Six, watched by around half a million viewers most nights.

Women’s Game Award

The Alternative Football League; Brighton Seagals FC; Jasmine Angove

With clubs for women and non-binary people thriving in the Manchester and Liverpool areas, the outstanding work of the AF League and its organisers is recognised in this category. Holders Brighton Seagals retain their shortlist spot for a third year, having developed new initiatives on mental health while attracting more trans and non-binary people too. Jasmine Angove is the founder of Gender Goals, the trailblazing new club that is offering opportunities for gender-diverse people in the Glasgow area to find community through football.

International Award, sponsored by Fare

FC Paris Arc-en-Ciel; John Blankenstein Foundation; Union Omaha

Helping to fight a worrying rise in homophobic attitudes in French football, FC PAEC – the rainbow club from the east side of the capital – now has over 160 members playing in seven competitive teams. Further north in Europe, the volunteer-run John Blankenstein Foundation has also had to react to changing times, increasing its offerings of workshops and education to combat an “anti-woke” narrative in the Netherlands. Meanwhile, in America’s conservative Midwest, Union Omaha SC – playing in the third-tier USL League One – have put LGBTQ+ inclusion at the heart of the club’s ethos, such as through engaging with the Common Goal Play Proud programme.

FvH Cymru Award

Brandon Gregory; Cardiff Dragons; Conwy Borough

As player-manager of the Cardiff Dragons and for his wider work in Welsh football, Brandon Gregory is in contention to win this category in consecutive years. The Dragons are also shortlisted again in their own right, with the club’s hard work on the EuroGames 2027 bid among the factors taken into account. The first-ever winners of this award were Conwy Borough FC in 2020, and the Ardal NW League club return to the shortlist after a busy 2023 that included a bespoke rainbow kit.

Grassroots Club Award

Brighton Seagals FC; Glasgow Saints FC; Stargazy FC

Having won the Women’s award last year, Brighton Seagals are going for Grassroots glory in 2024 – their recent achievements include raising hundreds of pounds for charity MindOut and establishing a closer working relationship with Sussex FA, such as on the Football v Transphobia Week of Action. Glasgow Saints, based in the east end district of Dennistoun, has strong LGBTQ+ representation at all levels and has embedded inclusion into its work with refugees and asylum seekers, on foodbanks, and in the wider community. Down in Cornwall, Stargazy is a first-of-its-kind club for the south-west county and has made rapid strides since being formally set up in March 2023, with glowing testimonials from players pointing to its life-affirming approach to the beautiful game.

FvH Hero Award

Eric Najib; James Laley; Tracy Brown

Eric Najib has been the first-team manager of Stonewall FC men since 2006, and guided the club to its fifth Gay Games gold medal in Guadalajara in November. He also helped to set up Rainbow Devils, the club-backed group for Manchester United supporters who are LGBTQ+ or allies which visibly forged ahead in 2023. As the founder of Rainbow Blades, James Laley has been a leading light in the LGBTQ fan movement for several years and is now imparting his knowledge and experience to other groups through a regional alliance. In a highly competitive category, Tracy Brown – the chair of Chelsea Pride and co-chair of The Rainbow Wall – completes the 2024 shortlist following her tireless campaigning work, particularly on the ‘Retire the Chant’ initiative which aims to eliminate a discriminatory slur from being sung towards anyone with a Chelsea connection.

James and Tracy were among those who spoke to us recently about why the FvH Awards are so important – read their contributions here.

FvH Awards Roll of Honour

Professional Club

2023: Sheffield United FC; Chelsea FC; Watford FC

2022: Leicester City FC; Tottenham Hotspur FC; Sheffield United FC

2021: Charlton Athletic FC; Liverpool FC; Sheffield United FC

2020: Tottenham Hotspur FC; Charlton Athletic FC; AFC Bournemouth

Supporters Group

2023: Proud Lilywhites; Rainbow Blades; Proud Grecians

2022: Foxes Pride; Proud Lilywhites; Proud Baggies

2021: Proud Baggies; Rainbow Blades; Proud Lilywhites

2020: Proud Baggies; Proud Lilywhites; Marching Out Together

FvH Hero

2023: Charlotte Galloway; Hannah Thornley; Zack Leader

2022: Hayley Wood-Thompson; Carys Ingram; Adam Crafton

2021: Rob Harris; Sinead O’Rourke; Gary Ginnaw

2020: Chris Paouros; Alan Quick; Rob Harris

Non-League Club

2023: Concord Rangers FC; Dulwich Hamlet FC; Harrogate Railway Athletic FC

2022: Dulwich Hamlet FC; Sheppey United FC; Ashford Town (Middlesex) FC

2021: Wrexham AFC

2020: Met Police FC; Whitehawk FC; Frickley Athletic FC 

Grassroots Club

2023: TRUK United FC; Camden Bells FC; Camp Hellcats

2022: Manchester Laces FC; Nottingham Lions FC; St John’s Deaf FC

2021: Charlton Invicta FC; Village Manchester FC; Deeside Dragons Girls FC

2020: Charlton Invicta FC; London Titans FC; New Milton Town Ladies FC

County FA

2023: Lincolnshire FA; Cheshire FA; London FA

2022: Sussex County FA; Cheshire FA; Herefordshire FA

2021: Manchester FA; Surrey County FA; Royal Air Force FA

Women’s Game

2023: Brighton Seagals; Sheffield United Women; Helen Hardy 

2022: Stonewall W&NB Team; Helen Hardy; Brighton Seagals

2021: Beth Fisher and Anita Asante; Goal Diggers FC; Jess Creighton 

FvH Cymru

2023: Brandon Gregory; The Rainbow Wall; Cardiff Dragons FC

2022: FC Bellevue; FC United of Wrexham

2021: Not awarded

2020: Conwy Borough FC; FC Bellevue


2023: Sportif Lezbon (Turkey); BK Vestia (Denmark); League of Tolerance (Ukraine)

2022: Ligue de Football Professionnel (France); Sport for Tolerance (Cameroon); AJ Auxerre (France)

FvH Scotland

2023: Lloyd Wilson; Zander Murray; Andrew Henderson

Outstanding Contribution

2023: Jake Daniels

Read about the 2023 Awards event here and check out our interview with Hayley Wood-Thompson, who was named FvH Hero in 2022.

Football v Homophobia is an international initiative that exists to challenge discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression at all levels of football.

Launched in 2010, Football v Homophobia runs an annual Month of Action, which takes place in February during LGBT+ History Month.

The Month of Action calls on individuals and organisations at all levels of football to take meaningful action to create more LGBTQ+ inclusive spaces in the game and address all forms of discrimination.

The Sports Media LGBT+ website is a digital publishing hub for news, stories and opinion from across our global community of LGBTQ+ people and allies in sport – and it’s open to all.

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