CARLTON Football Club has officially announced the establishment of its first LGBTI supporter group.

The pride group follows in the footsteps of 11 other groups currently in place across the league for teams such as the Richmond Tigers and the Sydney Swans.

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A statement by Carlton announcing the news highlighted the need for such groups to exist.

“With 11 other LGBTI supporter groups across the league, Carlton Pride… hopes to create a safe and welcoming environment for all,” it read.

“As a leader in equality and inclusion, the club, along with the Northern Blues, look forward to working with Carlton Pride to strengthen the diverse Carlton supporter base.”

Melbourne-based Carlton supporter Liam Clark said the new Pride group will have a huge impact on queer AFL fans.

“Like most Victorians, AFL has been an awesome and exciting part of my life,” he said.

“And for as long as I can remember I’ve supported Carlton. But I think the hyper-masculine nature of AFL has meant that sometimes whether correct or otherwise I’ve felt like an outsider and unwelcome to be a queer man in that space.

“To now have an LGBTI Carlton group means I can support my favourite team and to know at the same time they support me.”

This weekend the Sydney Swans will square off against the St Kilda Saints in the AFL’s second annual Pride Game for premiership points.

To join Carlton Pride on Facebook click here.

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