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Exploratory study of homophobia in Wallonia-Brussels Federation male amateur football

  • Minon, Louis
  • Cloes, Marc
  • Nols, Zeno
Publication Date
Jul 06, 2023
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peer reviewed / Despite the implementation of some campaigns to fight against the phenomenon, in professional football stadiums, manifestations of homophobia are still regularly making headlines. Moreover, several French and Anglo-Saxon studies conducted within grassroots football report greater hostility towards homosexuality in this context than in other contexts of everyday life. Unfortunately, however, there is still very little information about this topic in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation (WBF). The aim of this study was to find out how homophobia expresses itself in WBF men's amateur football; to question different stakeholders in grassroots football about the role they might play regarding this problematic, and; analyze the actions that are currently being taken to tackle it. A total of 511 male amateur football stakeholders completed an online questionnaire. Based on their experiences or feelings, they answered questions regarding manhood, insults related to homosexuality, the role of each person in dealing with homophobia, and the positions taken by the football federation and the football clubs in relation to this issue. Afterwards, nine other people were interviewed in order to discuss the results of the questionnaire and to provide more details. Data underline that although acceptance of homosexuality is almost unanimous, the use of insults referring to homosexuality is common, and the belief that a homosexual person would not be masculine enough to play football is still widespread. The various stakeholders in grassroots football are poorly informed about the federation's anti-discrimination policy, while clubs rarely have a clear policy on discrimination. At both federation and club levels, it is important to give visibility to the efforts made in tackling homophobia. All actors of the WBF football should be made aware of the importance of showing their acceptance of homosexuality in order to promote a general atmosphere of inclusion in football.

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