Super 5 League, a football competition that prides itself on being inclusive to the LGBTQ+ community, was exposed by Hannah Thornley, who is the Camden Bells FC founder, for their mistreatment of the team, especially with regards to their gender identities. Alongside, harsh referring and the disrespect towards the team players’ pronouns and trans players were the main reasons for why they boycott the league.
The other leagues that have affiliation with the Super 5 League expressed their dismay about what happened, urging the league to step down from their banner and do better. Especially since they’re a branch off of FA, one of the largest tournament organizers in the world, these leagues are saying that Super 5 needs to do so much better.
The league has been suspended with no further notice as of now. Though it said in a statement that the whole organizing team apologizes for the things that came up and that they will stick to their commitment to bringing better inclusive measures for the LGBTQ+ community in their very own platform.
Thornley has set a meeting to talk with the organizing team and the whole of FA regarding the issue. But she stands for stripping the competition off of their inclusive banner because of how outdated their practices were, which has been affecting numerous players who were forced to sit down and keep quiet because of how too-good the event has been presenting itself so far.
Super 5 League
The Super 5 League, also known as the Super5, is a London-based football event that takes in more than 50 teams every event, sponsored by some of the biggest sportswear companies out there like Nike.
It is vastly known for its practices that aim to include the LGBTQ+ community, is known for accommodating people from different gender identities and sexual orientations. It has received numerous awards, including one McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards, and has been the 2020 Project of the Year, awarded by the 2020 FA. If you know Super 5 League, it’s one special event because of how it actively engages with issues of inclusivity, until now.
Lastly, Super 5 League holds great connections with some of the largest associations in the world, including FA and the Amateur Football Alliance (AFA). Knowing how great the reach of the Super 5 League in the industry makes it even worse to know the outdated policies regarding trans players and having no mention of non-binaries have been in talks to how it manifests within the organizing team.
The backlash happened to start with the transphobic remarks that the organizing team was making. There were three that Thornley mentioned, such as not taking pronouns in special consideration, outdated policies, and anti-trans sentiment such as having trans players undergo tests to keep the quality of the game fair.
First, they wanted trans players who were joining to go over a test to make sure that they’re able to play with other people, especially women, “fairly,” which triggered numerous backlash.
Second, whilst they brand themselves as inclusive to the LGBTQ+ community, the investigators who later on ordered the competition to be suspended mentioned how their policies about their branding didn’t mobilize from 2016. The team failed to mention non-binaries, why they exist in the field, and why they should be able to play.
Thirdly, and lastly, the organizing team has been mistreating some players who prefer to be mentioned with their preferred pronouns. The affected players told the media how their pronouns have been disregarded throughout, even when they explicitly mentioned why it’s important to be mentioned by one’s pronouns. The organizing team’s reason was that they were running out of time.
As one can expect, the backlash to the event has been big. From advocacy groups that cater to the LGBTQ+ community, individual players, teams, and football events to the football enthusiasts and general audience, the Super 5 League is in a bad state right now and it’s hard to redeem themselves because of the suspension period.
The Amateur Football Association (AFA) regarded their disappointment for the event, saying how it’s ironic that the event brands itself out of inclusivity, yet failed in doing so. Ex-Girlfriend FC put their solidarity statement with Camden Bells FC, who exposed how the event has been mistreating trans and non-binary people off the game. These are just some of the remarks that the league received from bigger organizing teams.
Later on, Super 5 League, along with FA, released a statement saying it apologizes for all the things that took place, mentioning how it will work with a much higher level of sensitivity next time, as well as makeup for the broken commitment they have done, and will make sure to turn the conversations about them more positive in the coming days.