Despite the Netherlands’ reputation as a model country with regards to LGBTIQ+ rights, the football world is an arena where LGBTIQ+ acceptance lags behind. With only two official LGBTIQ+ fan clubs, the ‘Roze Règâhs’ and ‘Roze Kameraden’, affiliated with ADO Den Haag and Feyenoord respectively, and countless incidents of homophobia, there is a need for more acceptance and inclusivity in football. Homophobia in football culture remains a serious issue, as seen by the challenges faced by the Roze Kameraden. The lack of officially recognised LGBTIQ+ fan clubs around most Dutch clubs raises questions about the overall acceptance of LGBTIQ+ people in football.

With this panel programme, we will discuss barriers for LGBTIQ+ fan clubs, problems and solutions to homophobia in football and learn from activists in other countries working on similar challenges. Join us and contribute towards building an inclusive culture.

You can attend this event physically or online. When making your reservation, choose between a physical spot or an online reservation.
Met in dit programma
Rishi Madlani
He/Him, Co-Chair Pride in Football & Foxes Pride BAME Officer
Houssin Bezzai
Program Manager Racism and Discrimination KNVB
Renate den Heijer
One of the initiators of and one of the driving forces behind the LGBTIQ+/ pink supporters' club of ADO Den Haag, the Roze Règâhs
Paul van Dorst
President of Roze Kameraden and social entrepreneur
Carl Fearn
Co-chair of Arsenal Gaygooners
Jo Bailey
Chair Pride of Irons (LGBTQ+ West Ham United supporters group) Pride In Football Women’s officer
DossierSamen Tegen Racisme


20:00 Setting the scene
20:10 Panel Dutch landscape LGBTQI football supporter groups
20:45 Panel UK landscape LGBTQI football supporter groups
21:30 Q&A
21:45 Closing remarks

Bio Speakers:

Rishi Madlani is an LGBT+ Champion across his professional and political career as well as in his local community. Rishi is Co-Chair of Pride in Football the umbrella group of LGBT+ fan groups which seeks to improve LGBT+ experiences around football and an active committee member of Foxes Pride, the LGBT+ fan group for Leicester City Football Club. In his other LGBT+ work, he’s previously chaired workplace LGBT+ networks and is actively involved with Unite the Union and Unison’s LGBT+ campaigns. Additionally, Rishi is the Camden LGBT+ Champion where he is a Councillor. Rishi was thrilled to win the British LGBT+ Awards Inspirational Leader Award in 2022.

Renate den Heijer is One of the initiators of and one of the driving forces behind the LGBTQI+/ pink supporters’ club of ADO Den Haag, the Roze Règâhs, founded on 17 July 2013. And Trans ambassador of Transgender Netwerk Nederland. Renate has worked at the Municipality of The Hague since 1979, where she is a programme officer in the Opportunities for West/Europe and Funds team of the Economics Department. This is part of the Urban Development Department. Renate calls herself a woman with a transgender past. She had her coming out at work in 2002. Since then, her colleagues have been incrementally involved in her transition journey. In January 2005, she appeared at work as Renate and gender-affirming surgery took place in 2007.

Houssin Bezzai came to the Netherlands at a young age and made his debut in Dutch professional football for Sparta on 7 November 1999 in a match against Ajax. He played his last professional game on 14 April 2006 for Haarlem in a match against FC Zwolle. After his retirement from professional football (August 2006), Bezzai joined the amateurs of Ter Leede. He was a Moroccan youth international and won the African Cup of Nations under 20 in 1997. After his football career, Bezzai co-founded Sport United, which focuses on organising events and career guidance for athletes, among other things. The company also guides (vulnerable) young people with education and employment advice. Since March 2020, Houssin Bezzai has been the programme manager for racism and discrimination at the KNVB.

Paul van Dorst is president of the Roze Kameraden, Feyenoord’s LGBT+ fan club founded in 2021. Paul is in his daily life social entrepreneur who advocates equal opportunities for all, using sport as a tool for better social cohesion.

Carl Fearn has been an Arsenal supporter since 1971 when his mother bought him the “wrong football shirt” for school! A member of Arsenal Gaygooners (GGs) since 2016, he went to his first game with them in 2018. He collaborates with Arsenal on a regular basis and is proud to very visibly represent all 1,800+ GG members. He is often asked to comment in mainstream media and highlights the need for active LGBT+ football supporters groups to tackle and address LGBT+ phobia in the beautiful game. He helped his local English Football League 2 team, Barrow AFC, set up their LGBT+ supporters group in 2022.

Jo Bailey is the chair of West Ham Uniteds Womens Supporters Board and Representative for Pride Of Irons on the F.S.A (football supporters association’ women’s football network.) As Chair of Pride Of Irons her mission is continuing promoting visibility of the club’s LGBTQ + fan base across all intersections and continually pushing the Clubs commitment to LGBT+ equality. She is also a local radio drive presenter, speaking often on issues within grassroots football and of LGBTQ+ awareness/education

This event is developed by
Programme seriesWeek Tegen Racisme 2024

Pakhuis de Zwijger en Comité 21 maart organiseren van 18 t/m 21 maart 2024 de 6de editie van de jaarlijkse Week Tegen Racisme (WTR), een programma in aanloop naar de landelijke Demonstratie Tegen Racisme. De WTR biedt een interdisciplinair programma vol theater, film, muziek, spoken word, storytelling, lezingen, workshops en dialoog. Hierbij werken we samen met kunstenaars in allerlei disciplines, maatschappelijke organisaties en stadmakers. Tijdens het festival agenderen we een groot aantal onderwerpen binnen de hoofdthema’s racisme en discriminatie, zo behandelen we onder meer politiek, polarisering, sport, onderwijs, vluchtelingen-vraagstukken en klimaatracisme.