If about 8% of the world’s population is gay, and there are approximately 580 professional players in Belgium, no gay professional footballers is somewhat unrealistic. We created a Facebook page and campaign to get people talking about the issue.
To make homosexuality a topic that can be openly debated in professional sports, starting with professional football, Gelijke Kansen in Vlaanderen laid out an action plan for clubs and everyone involved in the sport. Our mission was to make this plan known to the general public and get people talking.
To draw attention to the issue, we set up a Facebook page called ‘The only gay in football”. This refers to Robby Rogers, the only professional football player ever to publicly out himself as gay. The page was intended to give fans and the general public a platform for voicing their opinion, and hopefully support athletes that wanted to out themselves.
To give the campaign national and international attention, we had Robby record a video message about his coming out and the campaign. We flew him over for the kick-off of KAA Gent – Anderlecht, one of the biggest games of the year. 20.000 people saw his video message in the KAA Gent stadium. We followed him with a video crew and in Brussels we got people to voice their opinion about the issue. This content was all posted online.
We also used the largest billboard in Belgium ever for our campaign: the LED on the outside of the KAA Gent stadium displayed the rainbow flag for a once in a lifetime event.
Traditional media picked up on “The only gay is football” and we got articles in the papers: Het Laatste Nieuws, De Morgen, De Standaard, het Nieuwsblad en La Dernière Heure. Interviews on Radio 1 en 2, op MNM and in television show ’Reyers Laat’ gave the campaign national attention.
The high number of organic views on our Facebook page shows that people interacted with the campaign’s message. Robbie’s video message got 5.050 organic views. The page was transferred to Gelijke Kansen in Vlaanderen after the campaign and is now used in support of the action plan.