All our research is curated and peer-reviewed giving you access to an unmatched library of information all in one place.

Non-performing inclusion: A critique of the English Football Association’s Action Plan on homophobia in football.

The English Football Association’s (FA’s) Action Plan entitled ‘Opening Doors and Joining In’, published in early 2012, aims to promote the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB&T) people and tackle homophobic abuse in football. The document is the latest example of the extent to which LGB&T inclusion and homophobia now feature on the FA’s radar. With a focus on men’s football, my purpose in this article is to focus on the prevalence, significance and implications of the many visual images in the FA Action Plan largely comprised of gay visibility in the form of gay football clubs and ‘diversity’ in the form of Black females. I draw on the work of Ahmed ((2012) On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life. Durham, NC: Duke University Press) and argue that the FA’s employment of visibility and its discourse on commitment to LGBT inclusion and tackling homophobia constitute ‘non-performative institutional speech acts’ and create the perception of ‘doing’. I conclude by offering practical suggestions on how to ameliorate homophobia in football, as well as providing a theoretical framework on how to study the increasing relevance of LGBT inclusion and homophobia in the wider context of global football.