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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Zander Murray to appear with Rylan in homophobia documentary

The charity has also worked with Premiership clubs St Mirren, Livingston, Celtic and Rangers.

Its work will feature as presenter Rylan Clark fronts a new documentary on TNT Sports, Homophobia, Football and Me which will feature interviews with both former and current players, including Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand and former Germany international Thomas Hitzelsperger.

Liam Stevenson, Co-Founder and Director of Time for Inclusive Education said: “This new documentary highlights the extent and impact of homophobia in men’s football across the UK, a phenomenon that we know is still pervasive through our engagement with young players.

The Herald: Rylan Clark

“The work that we are currently doing in both the grassroots game and professional academies is focused on driving a culture change within the sport by educating players about the impact of homophobic language and behaviour.

“This work can build the foundations for LGBT players of future generations to be able to be out and visible in the sport without fear of any negative reactions.”

Research published by the Professional Footballers’ Association monitoring online abuse of players during the 2020/21 season found that homophobia was the most common form of online discriminatory abuse targeting UK professional footballers.

Read More: Zander Murray: What we can learn from Scotland’s rarest footballer

Over 200 boys who played in youth academies took part in an evaluation of the project’s impact, and while 71% said that they heard homophobic language used in their footballing life, 95% reported that they would no longer use homophobic language and derogatory slurs about LGBT people after participating in the workshops.

One participant wrote that their key learning moment was “to make a stance against homophobia in and outside of football”, while another said that they thought the sessions and hearing Zander’s own story would have “a majorly positive impact” and help the next generation of young footballers to “realise that there’s nothing wrong with being gay”.

Mr Murray said: “I never thought that I would be able to be a confident, out gay footballer, and I went through a lot of difficulty to get to this point – and I am now committed to being a role model for other players.

“Homophobia and negative language in the game had a massive impact on me. The goal of sharing my story with young players is for the next generation to be the ones who stand up against homophobia once and for all, and make sure that football really can be the beautiful game for everyone, including LGBT players and fans.”

Rylan: Homophobia, Football and Me will air on TNT Sports 1 at 10:30pm on February 13

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