On March 4, 5 and 6, Belgian professional football will be dressed in rainbow colours. With the 'Football for All' campaign, the Pro League and its clubs will again make a statement in favour of inclusion and against homophobia, as they do against racism and other forms of discrimination. Our football is for everyone, on and off the field. We translate this basic idea into concrete policy.
The Pro League wants to take up its role as the driving force behind top sport and as an important social actor. That is why the captain's bands and corner flags in the Jupiler Pro League and 1B Pro League have the colours of the inclusive rainbow flag. The symbolism of the rainbow on a football pitch is and remains a powerful sign, but the Pro League wants to do more.
Last year, Australian professional footballer Josh Cavallo came out as gay. In response, the Pro League hired a diversity consultant to set up a coaching process. Together with this diversity consultant, an action plan was drawn up to detect and eliminate existing barriers for people in the LGBTQI+ community. The action plan will also be shared with other sports federations to support them.
The Pro League and its clubs demonstrate their commitment to diversity, inclusion, and respect. We stand together against homophobia, racism and all other forms of discrimination and inequality. The objective is clear: everyone should be able to be themselves. In our stadium and beyond.
In addition, the Pro League is also working with expert organisations to launch workshops for young football players and youth coaches. The new generation is clearly thinking about gender, sexuality, and identity. The input and knowledge of experienced experts will help us create an inclusive sports environment. After all, we remain firmly convinced that football should and can be for everyone.
Eleven United: Waasland-Beveren
In its social policy, the Pro League also wants to highlight best practices and inspiring initiatives of its clubs. The collaboration between Çavaria and Waasland-Beveren, for example. Together, the clubs will carry out an inclusion scan among the Waasland-Beveren supporters. Measuring is knowing. Whoever knows the gender make-up of his audience can better build an inclusive football climate that is supported by the entire club.
Eleven Sports created a report on the inclusion scan of Waasland-Beveren and also supports the broader campaign. Our media partner opens up its channels and shares the inclusive message that 'Football for All' conveys. “Diversity and inclusion are values that Eleven fully shares as a company,” said Jan Mosselmans, Head of Content and Production at Eleven Sports. “They are part of our values charter. That's why we fully endorse the Football for All campaign of the Pro League. There are still steps to be taken regarding diversity: structurally, in communication, and in the workplace. As a sports medium and partner of the Pro League, we are happy to support this.”
Video about the inclusion scan at Waasland-Beveren:
The 'Football for All' campaign ties in with the Come Together month of the RBFA, with various actions on diversity and inclusion. The Pro League supports the action plan of the RBFA, the ACFF and Voetbal Vlaanderen (Flanders Football). We share the values, commitments, and objectives, consult closely, and are convinced that we reinforce each other. Since 2018, the Pro League has been working to expand the policy plan on anti-discrimination and racism for professional football. We continue to build on this together with the clubs, partners such as Eleven Sports, and the government.