just a ball game

Kick homophobia out of sport - just a ball game?

JBG? Blog and News


JUST A BALL GAME?                                     MEDIA RELEASE- For immediate release.                                       



On the eve of our eighth birthday, JUST A BALL GAME? (JBG?) proudly announce their first ever seminar #STRONGERTOGETHER  which will be hosted by The Football Association (FA) at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday 5th February 2019.

The event is supported by GMB Trade Union, The Professional Footballers’ Association, UCFB, KIO and others, and will see a day of interactive workshops, networking, guest panel speakers from football clubs, fan groups, players, referees, coaches, education establishments, the police, media, and other sports organisations coming together to showcase the great partnership work done in collaboration with JBG? 

Further details on this free, event will be released shortly. Tickets will be booked via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/strongertogether-tickets-52180212420

Confirmed speakers to include referee Lucy Clark, football coach Luke Tuffs, FA Youth Council member Amrit Singh Bains, former TUC Policy Officer Dr Peter Purton and former Women’s FA Hon. Ass. Secretary Patricia Gregory.

"Delighted that this event is taking place, and at Wembley. It justifies years of hard work at  grass roots to raise the issue of anti-LGBT+ prejudice in football, and I am honored to have been asked to take part". Dr Peter Purton, TUC LGBT/disability officer (retired).

Keeley Baptista, Kick It Out Programmes Manager, said: “Just A Ball Game? have worked tirelessly for LGBT+ inclusion in football since 2010 and we’re proud to be a long-term supporter of their work.
 “The #StrongerTogether relaunch at Wembley promises to be an important day of discussion and workshops on LGBT+ issues, and we look forward to seeing how JGB? use it to build on their successes over the last 8 years.”

Lucy Clark says: “I love the work that Just A Ball Game? do and fully support them. Football and all sports should be enjoyed by everyone and just because a person is a member of the LGBT+ community they should still continue doing what they love without prejudice.”

“ As someone who very nearly gave up doing something I love because I am transgender, I appreciate the work the Just A Ball Game? are doing as quitting should not have even crossed my mind. I am honored to have been invited to talk at this event and look forward to meeting you all.”

Amrit Singh Bains had this to say,” It’s an absolute honor to attend the day  as a guest speaker. I am really humbled for this opportunity to use the game of football to unite, inspire and empower our communities.”


Contact for further information: info@justaballgame.co.uk 
Founder-Lindsay England

Published on - Fri, 09 Nov 2018




On November 9th 2018 here at JUST A BALL GAME? (JBG?) we will be celebrating our eighth  birthday and ahead of this we are very pleased to announce that our Challenging Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia Award this year has gone to Merseyside Police.

Over the past twelve months we have teamed up with the North West force for a number of LGBT+ inclusion meetings, presentations and events and also looked at ways for them to integrate our resources in to their officer briefings and training.

Here at JBG? we use football and other sports as a tool to help educate around LGBT+ visibility and inclusion alongside challenging HBT abuse and behavior and this has helped inspire the constabulary to look at new ways of communicating and reaching out to the local community in the hope in turn members of the public will engage and trust officers more to deal with hate crime when it is reported.

JBG? now hope that other police forces across the country will now also look to partnering with the LGBT+ campaign organisation and team up to do similar work.

The award presentation was made to the Merseyside Police Community Engagement Unit who were grateful and proud to receive an acknowledgement of the newly formed partnership working with JBG? 

Inspector John Sacker said, “Today, Merseyside Police are very pleased to be presented with an award from Lindsay England, founder of JUST A BALL GAME? for their engagement and collaboration during 2018.”


Published on - Wed, 31 Oct 2018

JBG? media release - “ TRANS KIDS ARE ALRIGHT.”



                   “ TRANS KIDS ARE ALRIGHT.”

So much is being thrown around about the reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004, and also trans inclusion in such a negative way.
Here at JUST A BALL GAME? (JBG?) we wanted to put our weight behind our trans brothers, sisters, friends, colleagues , strangers, and also those who may identify as non-binary, gender neutral or other, and show some love and support by issuing “Trans Kids Are Alright” laces.
Our patron Sophie Cook, alongside our friends at GMB Union/ Kick It Out/ Fans For Diversity/ have backed the initiative to raise awareness and visibility by wearing our pink and blue laces.
We have also been given the support of Dawn Butler, Labour MP Brent Central and Shadow SOS for Women & Equalities for this initiative.
Sandie Maile, co-chair GMB Shout! London region shows support:  "GMB Shout! the union's self-organised group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* + members, fully supports equality for trans* people and we are happy to endorse this campaign by Just a Ball Game?"
Brian Shaw,  Chair of GMB London Regional Equality Forum says: “GMB Shout! welcome this initiative, trans rights are human rights and changes to the gender recognition act need to be supported. Join GMB Shout! campaign’s - gmbshout.net”

Sophie Cook JBG? Patron has these words: “  “With the increasing levels of anti-trans prejudice that we are seeing in some quarters it is more important than ever to stand united in support of transgender rights. Trans people are disproportionately likely to suffer with mental health issues due to the abuse and discrimination that they receive so every sign of solidarity helps to show them that there are more people that believe in equality and love than those that seek to spread hate. I love this initiative from Just A Ball Game? And urge everyone to get behind the campaign and show that trans rights are human rights.”

Kick It Out.
Roisin Wood, CEO of Kick It Out, said: “The trans community are an important part of football and we were pleased to recognise that by appointing Sophie as our first transgender ambassador in 2016.”
“Just A Ball Game? do vital work supporting LGBT participants in the game and we are delighted to throw our support behind their pink and blue laces campaign to promote trans inclusion.”
JBG? have a limited number of the laces available and those who donate a minimum of £5 to JBG? via our website and social media links, will receive a pair of laces (while stocks last and inclusive of P+P) and a free JBG? badge. 
Please show your support for trans inclusion and wear pink and blue to let everyone know: “ Trans Kids Are Alright.”

Published on - Wed, 01 Aug 2018

JBG? welcome The Leeds Hunters RUFC



             Just A Ball Game? welcome The Leeds Hunters RUFC as a partner club.

We are very happy to announce that we are bringing The Leeds Hunters RUFC on board as a partner club.
The Leeds Hunters RUFC is an inclusive rugby club. 
The Club's primary aim is to provide, for any adult male aged 18 or over irrespective of race, sexual orientation, ethnicity and level of fitness or experience, a safe environment in which to enjoy the game of rugby. For all members, players, supporters and volunteers, The Leeds Hunters will always strive to foster an environment of mutual respect, equality, tolerance and teamwork, as well as promote cooperation, friendship and compassion both on and off the pitch.

Earlier this year as part of our LGBTHM events we visited the team training and found the club had recently been officially affiliated with Yorkshire Carnegie.

Tony Aimson, Leeds Hunters Chairman, said: “For a team who have recently celebrated their first anniversary, we are extremely honored to be affiliated with Yorkshire Carnegie, having their support along with experience and assistance with training will be a vast benefit to our players and coaching team. We are looking forward to a long relationship with Yorkshire Carnegie.”

Ever fancied giving rugby a try but been worried about taking the plunge? Fancy a new challenge?

All levels of ability - from zero previous experience upwards
All ages from 18+ LGBT+ and allies are welcome.

The aims and objectives of the club are:  
•   To offer playing and coaching opportunities in Rugby Union    
•   To promote the sport of Rugby Union    
•   To provide all services in a way that is fair to everyone    
•   To ensure that all present and future members receive fair and equal treatment    
•   To uphold the Rugby Core Values    
•   To provide a safe environment for members of all abilities to enjoy the game of rugby. 

Questions and answers about joining the club.

Do I need previous experience of playing rugby?

No! We are an inclusive team and that includes being inclusive of all levels of ability. We would welcome new players who have zero experience of playing rugby through to those that already play at a high level.

How often do you train?

We train twice a week (Wednesday evenings & Saturday mornings). We don't have a minimum attendance requirement but clearly those who train more regularly will better develop as a player and find themselves in a better position when it comes to selection for fixtures.

What is an inclusive team?

For us being inclusive means breaking down some barriers that exist for some people who ordinarily might not get involved in rugby for whatever the reason might be. 
Whilst our players are predominantly LGTB+ we also have straight players who are just as much part of the team. Sexual orientation is not a barrier - we welcome anyone regardless of how they might identify.

Where do you train?

Our home ground and training location is the Leodensian RUFC in north Leeds. Click below for our address.

How will I know if rugby is right for me?

You won't know until you try!
We are always on the look our for new members of the team. Get in contact with us to find out more about joining us for training. Your first months membership is free and after that you are under no obligation to continue. However we are sure that you'll love being a part of The Leeds Hunters RUFC family!

I want to join you for training, what should I bring?

If you've decided you want to get involved then drop us a message and we can let you know more information. The only requirement for training is a pair of boots and a bucket load of enthusiasm!

The Leeds Hunters RUFC
Crag Lane, Alwoodley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England LS17 5EW, United Kingdom

Website:  https://theleedshunters.co.uk/

Published on - Sun, 27 May 2018




Thanks to extremely generous sponsorship from Jenny Rathbone Welsh Labour Assembly Member, we are happy to announce that former Wales and Everton legend Neville Southall MBE will join us alongside a number of other guest speakers at Cardiff’s Pierhead building on May 17th for an evening of chat and friendship to celebrate IDAHOBIT 2018 titled: NON LGBT+ ALLIES, AN ESSENTIAL CONNECTION.

Neville Southall champions the cause of both Bradford City LGBT+ fan group and JBG? stating: “I think it’s important that the football community and the LGBT+ community talk more, maybe that is something I can help with?”

Cardiff born gay man Bob Woods, a long term volunteer for JBG? who has a trans foster daughter says: “It's never been more important for LGBT+ activists and our allies to come together to defend the progress made and to move further forward in our fight against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, so please come to Pierhead to network, organise, resist!”

Roisin Wood, CEO of Kick It Out, said:
“The work that campaigning organisations such as Just A Ball Game? undertake plays an important role in promoting messages around LGBT+ inclusion and Kick It Out are pleased to endorse this event.”
“It is essential that discussions are held to raise awareness and address the current issues regarding discrimination against LGBT+ individuals and groups in sport and society. The event at the Pierhead Building promises to be a fantastic occasion in recognition of International Day against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.”


Published on - Mon, 07 May 2018

Media release from our friends at KICK IT OUT for LGBT History Month 2018

Premier League clubs unite with Kick It Out to promote inclusion in LGBT History Month 

Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion organisation, has released a film featuring players from every Premier League club which seeks to promote LGBT+ inclusion in football and emphasise that homophobic, biphobic or transphobic (HBT) discrimination has no place in the game.
The short film features Premier League stars such as Tottenham Hotspur’s Jan Vertonghen, Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata, Manchester United’s Juan Mata, Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany and Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck.
LGBT+ inclusion remains a central part of Kick It Out’s work and the film encourages supporters to report any abuse they witness or suffer – whether it’s to a steward or to Kick It Out via its free reporting app.
You can view the film here: https://youtu.be/sdNKg_djon0

The film builds on Kick It Out’s work last year with the Home Office, True Vision and JUST A BALL GAME?  when the organisation released a series of informative resources that raise awareness of HBT discrimination within football stadia.
The resources included a comprehensive booklet and small pocket guide designed to assist stewards and safety officers in their understanding of HBT discrimination and how to effectively challenge this behaviour, as well as a short film following five individuals from the LGBT+ community who discussed the impact of abuse on their matchday experience.

You can view the film accompany the resources here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6M6dT3STek&t

Roisin Wood, CEO of Kick It Out, was delighted to work closely with every Premier League club to produce the film and send a clear message that HBT discrimination is unacceptable in football and wider society.
“Kick It Out have been campaigning for LGBT+ inclusion in football for a long time and it’s wonderful that we’ve been able to bring all 20 clubs together for the first time in our history to take a stand against HBT discrimination. This is about the collective force of the game uniting to eliminate behaviour that has no place in the game.
“We also wanted to send out a positive message to fans across the world and make it clear that LGBT+ supporters are part of the foundations of football – just like any other fan.”
Bill Bush, Executive Director of the Premier League, gave his endorsement to the film.
“This film produced by Kick It Out features all our member clubs and highlights the need to challenge homophobic, biphobic and transphobic behaviour across the sport. The Premier League is embraced across the world and we are proud to show our continued support for LGBT+ inclusion in football.”

Published on - Tue, 27 Feb 2018

New team JBG? member

                                New team JBG? member on board.

Just A Ball Game? would like to welcome on board Steven (Ste) Grocock to our team as Midlands Officer.
Ste is a Notts County fan who is dedicated to equality in sports.Growing up in the midlands and later spending time in north America Ste is also a fan of ice hockey.

Check out the notes on Ste and the other JBG? team members here:


Published on - Fri, 16 Feb 2018

Media release: MAPPING OUR LGBT+ Fan Groups.


                     MAPPING OUR LGBT+ FAN GROUPS.

The UK celebrates LGBT HISTORY MONTH in February every year. For 2018 the theme is "Geography-Mapping Our World." 

LGBT+ campaign organisation JUST A BALL GAME? (JBG?) supported by Kick It Out (KIO) and members of the Bradford City LGBT+ fan group have created an online interactive map featuring a selection of International LGBT+ Fan Groups to help raise awareness and visibility around LGBT+ Equality, Inclusion and Diversity.

Alongside of  this four physical cut-out style maps with additional artwork featuring LGBT+ fan groups logos and names have been developed to enable young people to engage and learn about LGBT+ football supporters across the globe. 

These mapping exercises not only give an introduction to LBGT+ people but also bring in new learning skills around the use of on-screen tech, graphic design, geography, history, discovery, teamwork, collaboration and debate all in a fulfilled environment and safe space.

Speaking on the launch of the resources, Roisin Wood, CEO of Kick It Out, commented: “We’re pleased to be supporting JBG? with their online interactive map for LGBT History Month.”
“We hope the educational resources will help encourage football supporters and beyond to find out more about LGBT+ inclusion in the game”

Proud Cherries founder Louise Clarke says, “I would like to thank Lindsay and 'Just A Ball Game?' for putting together such a brilliant map.”
“It’s great to visually see just how many groups there are and to hopefully watch the numbers increase. It will also be a massive help in making contact with other groups to arrange meet ups or plan projects together."

The online map can be found on the download page of the JUST A BALL GAME? website: http://www.justaballgame.co.uk/downloads  
and can also be found here on the KICK IT OUT website: http://www.kickitout.org/

Published on - Mon, 29 Jan 2018



On Thursday 9th November 2017 here at JUST A BALL GAME? (JBG?) we celebrated our 7th birthday.
This year as in previous years, we looked at the good practise's shown by individuals and organisations who have partnered with us during the past 12 months helping to raise awareness around LGBT+ inclusion and visibility while also challenging homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) behaviour and bullying, and allocated our annual award.
We are pleased to announce that the 2017 JUST A BALL GAME? Challenging HBT Bullying Award goes to KICK IT OUT.

Kick It Out is football’s equality and inclusion organisation.  A small independent charity, the ‘Let’s Kick Racism Out of Football’ campaign was established in 1993 in response to widespread calls from clubs, players and fans to tackle racist attitudes existing within the game. Kick It Out was then established as a body in 1997 as it widened out its objectives to cover all aspects of inequality and exclusion.
Earlier this year JBG? partnered with KICK IT OUT on a Home Office ‘LGBT Hate Crime in Football’ funded project to produce resources to educate match day staff and stewards on the issues of HBT behavior often heard in stadia within  the professional game.

CEO of Kick It Out Roisin Wood had this to say on receiving the award, “We are absolutely honored, on behalf of Kick It Out I want to say a big thank you, it’s been great working with you this year as we have for a number of years. We hope that some of the resources we have been doing and the support of the type of work you have been doing continues on.”

Published on - Thu, 09 Nov 2017

Media Release: Former Wales and Everton legend on board as patron of LGBT+ organisations.

Former Wales and Everton legend on board as patron of LGBT+ organisations.

We are happy to announce that former Wales and Everton legend Neville Southall MBE has joined us as a Patron of JUST A BALL GAME? (JBG?) and Bradford City LGBT+ fan group.
The former goalkeeper, who had a short spell at Bradford City alongside 92 caps for Wales and a record 578 appearances for the 'Toffees'  has for some time been an advocate for Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Trans + inclusion through his social media platforms. Mr Southall agreed to take on the straight ally ambassador role to help take an important stand for an LGBT+ community by joining the campaign against homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying in football and other sports.

Neville Southall is to champion the cause of both Bradford City LGBT+ fan group and JBG? stating: “I think it’s important that the football community and the LGBT+ community talk more, and maybe I can help?”
“I think it’s only a matter of time that a footballer will come out,” he says. “With the work of charities like Just A Ball Game?  we hope to make it a better environment to help that happen.” Tweeting in October 2017 Southall posted: “If your gay, straight trans or anything else you should be able to be what u want
(not live a lie) without discrimination or prejudice.”
The messages that JBG? send out are very much a big YES to equality, inclusion and diversity and NO to 'HBT' abuse or bullying.
Founder of JBG?  Lindsay England welcomes the involvement of the ex professional as, "A fantastic addition to the LGBT+ and straight alliance for both our JBG? educational campaign work, and raising the profile of the LGBT fan group at Bradford City."


Published on - Thu, 02 Nov 2017