Giambrone’s LGBT division, Gay-Lawyers, involvement in the making of the BBC documentary:
Alfie v Homophobia: Hate in the Beautiful Game
Gareth Thomas is one of the world’s most well regarded rugby players, being the most capped Welsh rugby player until 2011 and ranked 13th in the world as a try scorer. Gareth came out as gay in 2009, after concealing his sexuality for years. Whereas rugby has proved to be very understanding of his sexual orientation, Gareth could not help but noticing the amount of homophobic abuse found in football. Justin Fashanu came out as gay and remains one of the very few professional footballers to ever come out. He took his own life in 1998, after accusations of sexual abuse. Years later, ex-Aston Villa midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger and former Leeds United and United States player Robbie Rogers have revealed they are gay.
In 2015, it was estimated that 2% of UK men identified themselves as gay or bisexual and considering that some 5,000 individuals play football professionally, statistically it is highly lightly that some of them are gay.
A documentary on the issue of football's attitude to gay players, Alfie v Homophobia: Hate in the Beautiful game, was commissioned by the BBC to be fronted by Gareth Thomas. The documentary makers together with Gareth approached Gay Lawyers (the LGBT division of London-based international law firm Giambrone) to provide assistance with a Code of Conduct for football clubs to assist them to tackle homophobia within football clubs and the fans. Gabriele Giambrone, founder and managing partner of Giambrone, was interviewed to provide insights and discuss the details of the code of conduct.
Gareth appreciates the efforts that Football Associations have displayed in tackling racism and wishes to see the same applied to homophobia in football. The documentary provided Gareth with a chance to confront online homophobic abusers in a face-to-face meeting. Gareth (also known as “Alfie”) was personally the victim of online abuse during the making of this documentary.
Gareth invited the members of a Crystal Palace message board, who made threatening homophobic comments online following Brighton and Hove Albion’s promotion to the Premier League, to a local venue and wondered whether these people would be brave enough to come and discuss the subject face to face with him.
The documentary will follow Gareth's personal efforts to address homophobic attitudes in football and his attempts to meet some of football’s authorities and regulatory bodies to understand what support is available to gay footballers should they ever decide to come out. Giambrone strongly supports Gareth Thomas' initiative and will be pleased to work with him to get the Code of Conduct accepted throughout football.
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