Arsenal Football Club was nominated for a special award at The Stonewall Awards on Thursday night.
The charity, which campaigns for equality and justice for lesbians, gay men and bisexuals, held the event at the Victoria & Albert Museum to celebrate the outstanding contribution of individuals and groups towards equality over the past year.
The Club was put forward for the sports award for its work under the Arsenal for Everyone initiative, which encourages diversity across the Club. As part of its work, it has helped launch the Gay Gooners supporters group and driven the Educate and Celebrate event as part of LGBT history month in February.
TV presenter Clare Balding, the Cardiff Lions, adventurer Sarah Outen and Robbie Rogers, the footballer who came out last year, were the other nominees in the category - with Cardiff Lions, Wales’ gay-friendly rugby club, scooping the award.
Richard Lane, Stonewall media manager, said: ‘Arsenal’s nomination for the 2013 Stonewall Sports award recognises the impressive work they’ve done this year to make football gay-friendly for their fans. From their work in LGBT history month, to the formation of the Gay Gooners to marching in London Pride, they were thoroughly deserving of national recognition for their work this year.’
The Gay Gooners supporters’ group was formed at the start of the year by Stewart Selby, the LGBT representative on the Arsenal Supporters’ Forum. The Club has supported their development and there are now more than 100 members.
Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis said: “We believe embracing diversity is an important part of our football Club. We have grown the Arsenal for Everyone initiative over a number of years to drive greater awareness and understanding.
"One way we have been able to help on the issue of homophobia is to give the Gay Gooners our support and some publicity to help them build their membership. We are delighted to have been recognised in this way but most of the credit should go to Stewart Selby who is the real driving force of the Gay Gooners.”Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 8 Nov 2013