Gay and Gay Friendly Football Clubs: The Prejudices Team
In the first article in our series on gay and gay-friendly football clubs around the world we look at the Prejudices Team from the Netherlands. We spoke with Marloes, who worked with the Prejudices Team as part of a graduation project and is also a member of Red Card Homophobia.
When was the team formed?
In the summer of 2009, when Ed Wallinga, alderman in the municipality of Enschede started
with this whole idea. He is gay himself and wanted to do something against intolerance and
discrimination. He thought that competing in football would be the best instrument to reach
Can you explain the idea behind creating the Prejudices Team?
Certainly. The original idea was to have an entirely gay football team. That soon turned into a very diverse team with many different backgrounds, not only gay people but people with disabilities, immigrants, people suffering from manic depression, women, et cetera. Anyone who might have to deal with certain prejudices. The thought behind it was, when you let this “special” team play against a “normal” team, and let them discuss some things afterwards, you can make certain prejudices less of a taboo. The team wants nothing else. We are very realistic about not being able to get rid of prejudice in this world.
What has been the overall reception you have received since forming the team?
At first the media attention was huge. Not just locally, but nationally as well. Even Louis van
Gaal wished us good luck and called it a “good idea”. Though of course not all responses
were positive ones. An important sports journalist, Johan Derksen, who always has a strong
opinion about things, said it was “a ridiculous plan”.
Ed Wallinga’s conclusion was that at least it gives people something to think about. And
that’s exactly what we strive for.
Has the team gained any local attention?
So far we have played matches against a lot of local amateur clubs. We also participate in
other activities and try to get as much interesting local parties involved as possible. But I
must say we also try to look further than just the region Twente and that we approach national
organisations for partnerships as well.
How many members does the team have?
There isn’t an exact number, because it changes a lot. There is a base team consisting of about
14 players and around it are people who are occasionally called up to play along. We are
always looking for more members. Especially people who can actually play a decent game of
football. *laughs* That way we have a better chance at impressing the other team. *winks*
Where does the team practice and play games?
The team have done so in the past, but right now they don’t practice together. The games they
play are mostly played in the city Enschede and the surrounding area. We don’t have our own
field but come and visit amateur football clubs.
What plans do you have for the team in the future?
The Prejudice Team project leader, Nick Thies, made the decision to let the team be part of a
bigger whole. He expanded the Prejudice Team with other activities, such as a RespectCafé
and the RespectQuiz that accompanies it. The RespectCafé provides an amateur football club
with a very amusing evening + a serious undertone. As for the future, there are even plans of
handing out special prejudice awards next year. And of course getting even more interesting
If one of our readers was interested in joining the team how could they go about that?
They would have to live close to the region Twente in the Netherlands. If they contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org I will gladly redirect them to the project leader. By the way, there are people in Amsterdam who are also interested in forming a similar team. So if anyone in another country is thinking “this sounds like something I want to do as well”, they should definitely also contact me.
And finally what has been your most memorable experience with the Prejudices Team?
When we played against a group of young men from an ethnic minority who had started their
own football team. Afterwards, when they were asked “So who do you think is the gay
person on this prejudice team? And who do you think is the psychiatric patient?” one of them
said: “But why do we need to know that? We played a nice game, isn’t that enough? Does it
really matter?” A valuable lesson.
For more information on the Prejudices Team you can visit their website: http://fcvooroordelen.wordpress.com/ (website in Dutch).