FA ‘Kick It Out’ Anti-Homophobia Video: Why Did Star Players Refuse To Appear In It?

Ollie Irish

12th, February 2010


By Ollie Irish

This is the FA’s much-talked about video to promote its ‘Kick It Out’ anti-homophobia campaign:

The official line is that it’s been “two years in the making with the FA”, which seems an awfully long time to produce a video that probably took a day or two to shoot.

I think the video itself is fine. The white-collar homophobe at its heart is certainly repugnant enough to be convincing – sadly, there are too many bigoted football fans like him out there, the sort of morons who couldn’t even spell HIV.

But of course, the FA being the FA, they had to miss an open goal when it presented itself: “The FA intended to have a high-profile launch and then had second thoughts at the last minute to reassert their strategy.”

This is not the sort of campaign about which to have second thoughts, especially not after two years of planning. It sends the message that perhaps the FA is paying mere lip service to stamping out the sort of vile chants that Sol Campbell, for example, has had to endure for much of his playing career.

The high-profile names that the FA has selected to back this campaign are thin on the ground – hence the lack of high-profile launch – and also depressingly predictable: there’s Elton John (“He’s one of them and he likes football!”) and Gustavo Poyet (“He manages Brighton and there are loads of that lot down by the sea!”). Come on, you can do better than that, no?

Apparently not though. Where is David Beckham, a man who is usually happy to put his name and smile to any good cause? Where is John Terry, who was captain of the national team when this campaign was set to be launched? Where is Fabio Capello? Or any England player, for that matter. Indeed, it seems NO big names wanted to put their name to the anti-homophobia campaign, which is why the FA had to go with this type of generic, name-free video.

According to the Independent, “Both players and agents declined a request by the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) to take part” in the video, presumably because they feared being targeted by the very fans this campaign seeks to re-educate. Shame on them all.

Football desperately needs its first openly gay Premier League star, even if he’s retired – a John Amaechi/Gareth Thomas figure. It will happen, but without the support of Becks and co., it will simply take longer.

Kick It Out

And a news report on how the FA bungled the video launch:

Posted in Opinion, Videos

Share this article: Email


  1. Peter says:

    It’s already had it’s first openly gay player: Justin Fashanu. However he is the only one ever to have come out and his career ended in tragedy & suicide. This was a well-written article. The fact that the head of FIFA is well known to like women and lots of them, shows that he won’t be interested in vile chants on the terraces. Yet anothe F.A FAIL.

  2. Ollie says:

    Thanks for your comment Peter – I am aware of Fashanu’s tragic story, but I did say “Premier League star” on purpose.

  3. Grant says:

    Could you imagine a player refusing to take part in an anti-racism ad because he didn’t want to be abused by so-called fans?

    It is, quite simply, beyond disgraceful that in two years they couldn’t find a high profile player or manager to support this campaign, especially since the ad so exquisitly and succinctly satirizes its target.

    The other thing that bothers me is that there are a good number of people I could think of that could have supported this campaign and been almost certainly immune from any sort of backlash. Does anyone seriously think that if Rooney or Capello came out for this campaign, fans accross England would suddenly turn on them? Surely the same goes for Giggs, Scholes, or even someone like Thierry Henry, whose work with anti-racism campaigns is well noted. And for Christ’s sake, if Sol Campbell can’t get behind this campaign, I don’t know who will.

  4. Grant says:

    Obviously, you are also correct in pointing out that Mssr. Golden Balls could have lent his name to this cause without any threat of backlash in the U.K.

  5. alex says:

    I feel that the FA took so long to release it because they had no good ideas for the commercial. It’s very apparent from this video, that the people the FA put in charge had no good ideas at all, because for me, this video simply does not say much. If anything it only slightly makes you despise this man who is yelling. What it should be doing is making people see the effects of what they say on modern footballers.

  6. Ben says:

    This is a fantastic clip, and I hope it has the impact it deserves and needs to have. Couldn’t agree more about Beckham, he’s still the highest profile player in England, respected by his fellow pros and fans, and he’s said in the past that he’s proud to be a gay icon. I guess it suits him to be an icon but not to lend his name to an unglamorous cause.

  7. Jelly Bean says:

    Sometime I think we’re still in the Dark Ages when it comes to peoples’ attitudes towards anything other than heterosexuality. This video isn’t going to change much, and you’re right – a few high-profile names would improve this immeasurably. Gareth Thomas’s brave decision to come out a few months ago will hopefully encourage more sports stars to do the same – from what I can tell, the reaction to his revelation has been overwhelmingly positive. There’s still a huge amount of ignorance around, and sadly this won’t be helped by releasing a poorly-worked video of an unpleasant git!

Leave a Reply