Gay football display gets the boot

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Plans to stage an exhibition on gay footballers at a Preston museum have been given the boot.

University of Central Lancashire lecturers Mac McCarthy and Louisa Jones wanted to showcase their research into gay teams at Deepdale's National Football Museum.

Museum bosses were supportive, but the Football Foundation charity rejected a bid for nearly 135,000 to stage the exhibition and a three-year community outreach project.

A letter from the foundation stated: "Trustees do not feel the museum would be the most appropriate delivery agent for this particular agenda."

The foundation is part-funded by the FA, which recently launched a Kick Homophobia Out Of Football campaign.

Mr McCarthy, senior lecturer in UCLan's tourism and leisure management department, said: "There were people who thought perhaps the museum was not an appropriate venue. I don't know why that was. We are having to rethink what we can do and are having a meeting with the museum next week."

Researchers had spoken to players and fans in the Gay Football Supporters' Network about their experiences and the prejudices faced.

The snub comes after a police probe into anti-gay chants by PNE fans during the derby game with Blackpool.

A museum spokesman said: "We are disappointed we didn't get the funding. We are keen to work with the gay and lesbian community and are looking for other ways to do that."

The Football Foundation said the main reason for rejecting the bid was the museum did not have another funding partner to cover costs.

A spokesman said: "The museum asked for 78%. On average, we fund 55-60%. We are keen to support the gay and lesbian communities, alongside everything else we fund."

He added trustees felt museum staff did not have the expertise to put on the exhibition and other avenues would be explored.

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