Wembley hosts 'landmark' game as Stonewall FC fixture 'sends powerful message to LGBT people'

Football Association
The national stadium hosted its first non-league fixture in the regular season on Friday as Stonewall FC beat Wilberforce Wanderers FC

Wembley Stadium was bathed in rainbow colours on Friday, as a historic game took place between Stonewall FC and Wilberforce Wanderers AFC, to mark a partnership between the FA and Stonewall.

Stonewall won the game 3-1, as goals from Nasar Nakhli, Mike Sholly and Ollie Rabie earned the club all three points on a special occasion.

It is the first time Wembley has hosted a non-league fixture during the regular season, and over 1,000 fans turned out to witness the game live.

Stonewall has always championed LGBTQ rights, and the partnership sees the FA become a member of Stonewall's Diversity Champion programme.

Over the weekend, players and clubs across the country marked their commitment to equality by wearing rainbow-coloured laces and armbands, and the FA has expressed its commitment to embedding LGBTQ inclusion within their business plans and teams.

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

"It has been 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.

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

And his opposite number, Chris White, has expressed his own delight at seeing his team involved in such an occasion.

“We were absolutely honoured to be involved in the fixture," he said.

"We’re clear that tonight wasn’t just about the three points up for grabs but more so the wider significance that this fixture will have in promoting inclusion and diversity in sport.”

Kirsty Clarke, Stonewall Director of Sport, added: "Our mission is for everyone involved in the national game at every level of football, from the community to the elite, to feel included and welcome.

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"To see Stonewall FC run out at Wembley this evening was inspiring and shows how far we have come.

"The fixture also sends a powerful message to LGBT people as it demonstrates that The FA are committed to working to ensure everyone is accepted within the football family.”

Stonewall have been in exceptional form this season, losing just once.