Cardiff City vs St Austell - 12/02/23. Credit: Cardiff Ladies Twitter

Czech football star coming out will help young Welsh footballers, say Dragons chief

‘Players and coaches can’t perform at their best if they don’t feel safe or that they can be their true selves,’ says chair of Wales’ first LGBTQ+ football club

SEEING a current international male footballer come out as gay will help inspire young Welsh footballers, said the chair of Wales’ first LGBTQ+ football club.

Czech Republic midfielder Jakub Jantko has been widely praised as he become the first current male international footballer to come out.

Charlotte Galloway, the chairperson for Cardiff Dragons, the first LGBT football club in Wales, said: “(It) shows things are moving in the right direction.

“The strength people like Jakub will give boys is significant and will hopefully encourage allyship from their friends which is where the battle against homophobia will be won.”

Jantko’s announcement came during Football v Homophobia month.

Football v Homophobia is an international initiative opposing homophobia at all levels of the game around the world. During February FvH asks clubs, fans and players to focus their efforts on challenging discrimination.

Galloway is chair of Cardiff Dragons but is also involved with Cardiff City Ladies FC (nicknamed The Dragons, confusingly). Cardiff City Ladies dedicated their most recent fixture to the FvH initiative.

Cardiff City Ladies welcomed bottom of the league St Austell to Ocean Park Arena on Sunday, (February 12) in a crucial game for the Dragons, who find themselves in second place in Division One South West.

Galloway, said: “As the most successful club in Wales and with a few members of the LGBT community in the club it was natural that Cardiff City Ladies should take part in the campaign.

“The scheme has a considerable platform and by using it we can spread the message that homophobia in football is not okay and will not be tolerated.”

Schemes such as Football v Homophobia are crucial in helping players and coaches to feel safe in football as more players come out in both the male and female game.

“Women’s football is, and always has been, an accommodating space for LGBT people,” said Galloway.

“Football is such a powerful tool here and it touches so many lives. Players and coaches can’t perform at their best if they don’t feel safe or don’t feel like they can be their true selves.”

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It proved a successful afternoon on the pitch for the CCLFC as they put 10 goals past their visitors from Cornwall without reply, to take them one point behind league leaders Exeter City.

“It was great to see four different goal scorers on the day, our captain Cori Williams got a bit greedy and took five for herself,” said Galloway.

“We’ve got a huge FA Cup game coming up against Lewes, who are fully professional, and if we win that we’ll have gotten further than one of Arsenal or Chelsea.

“Getting an emphatic win was massively important for us and we’ll look to hold onto that feeling.”