By Martin Ryder
During October and November of 2018, L.I.S.A with funding from the FSF Fans for Diversity campaign teamed up with the Bangla Bantams of Bradford City. The idea conceived was based around a simple desire to send a positive message by football fans that our respective clubs should be a welcoming place for all. In recent years the diversity of supporters at Lincoln City has changed with more families and women attending matches. A wider fan base is still not something welcomed by a small vocal minority but it is welcomed by the vast majority and by the club itself. L.I.S.A was proactive last year in supporting the designated “Kick it Out” fixture and we will be doing the same in 2019.
In October a group of 17 L.I.S.A members were looked after with huge care and warmth by our friends the Bangla Bantams in Bradford. Despite obvious cultural differences a common interest of football and food resulted in close friendships being made by people who might never otherwise have come together. The return leg to Lincolnshire in November galvanised those friendships further and with the help and support of our football clubs, the FSF and Imp friends at the Royal Air Force an immensely powerful and positive message was created with a film of the project to follow soon.
In a negative media world football has certainly gained its detractors and yet it is something that can be incredibly positive for our community if enhanced and encouraged in the right way. By being proactive in welcoming people whoever they might be, our clubs benefit immensely - both financially and in connecting properly with the community. It is sad to say that small events of racism, sexism and homophobia still do exist in our stadiums but they are a tiny rogue element and as supporters it’s vital we play our part in educating and tackling them. While a few look to divide and categorise people for whatever reason our clubs and the huge majority in football won’t tolerate it.
L.I.S.A will look to be a positive force for all minority groups, whatever gender, race, religious belief or sexuality. We will look to offer help and support to fans of whatever background so please contact us with any concerns or ideas.
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