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Wembley Stadium lights up in rainbow colours as FA shows support for Stonewall

PUBLISHED: 16:00 05 December 2018

Stonewall FC, Britain's first LGBT club, played a Middlesex County League match against AFC Wilberforce at Wembley Stadium

Stonewall FC, Britain's first LGBT club, played a Middlesex County League match against AFC Wilberforce at Wembley Stadium

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Stonewall FC beat Wilberforce Wanderers 3-1 in historic fixture

Stonewall FC, Britain's first LGBT club, played a Middlesex County League match against AFC Wilberforce at Wembley StadiumStonewall FC, Britain's first LGBT club, played a Middlesex County League match against AFC Wilberforce at Wembley Stadium

Brent’s Wembley Stadium shone in rainbow colours on Friday as Stonewall FC took on Wilberforce Wanderers on a historic night.

The Middlesex County League Division One clash was held at the national stadium to celebrate a new partnership between The FA and LGBT charity Stonewall, from whom the club takes its name.

Stonewall FC ran out eventual 3-1 winners as the two sides competed under the rainbow-lit arch.

The fixture took place as part of this year’s Rainbow Laces season - Stonewall’s campaign to help make sport everyone’s game – and is believed to be the first time the stadium has ever hosted a regular season non-league fixture.

Stonewall FC, Britain's first LGBT club, played a Middlesex County League match against AFC Wilberforce at Wembley StadiumStonewall FC, Britain's first LGBT club, played a Middlesex County League match against AFC Wilberforce at Wembley Stadium

Played in front of over 1,000 fans, Stonewall FC had to battle back from being a goal down to win, with efforts from Nasar Nakhli, Mike Sholly and Ollie Rabie helping them to a victory which sent them top of the table.

After the win, Stonewall manager Eric Najib Armanazi said: “It was a landmark moment for all those who have worked so hard to eradicate discrimination in the game.

“It was a wonderful evening for the club but also for sport as a whole.

“We would like to thank The FA and Stonewall for giving us the once in a lifetime opportunity at one of the world’s most famous stadiums.

Stonewall FC, Britain's first LGBT club, played a Middlesex County League match against AFC Wilberforce at Wembley StadiumStonewall FC, Britain's first LGBT club, played a Middlesex County League match against AFC Wilberforce at Wembley Stadium

“To be standing in the technical area at Wembley watching your team win is the pinnacle of any football manager’s career and for me it was no different.”

The new partnership between The FA and Stonewall sees the governing body become a member of the charity’s Diversity Champion programme, just one element to help create a game where everyone can be themselves.

Stonewall will support The FA on key areas within participation, governance, workforce management, communications and embodiment across the game.

This will demonstrate The FA’s commitment to embedding LGBT inclusion across current and future business plans and teams.

The partnership announcement follows the release of The FA’s ‘In Pursuit of Progress’ plan, which is part of the organisation’s commitment to ensure the diversity of those leading and governing football better reflects those playing the game.

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