Bristol City Football Club have this week received an incredible amount of backlash on social media and it’s not because of a player’s less than desirable antics off field, but due to the clubs recently redesigned goalkeeper jerseys.

Designed in conjunction with the club’s new technical partner Hummel, a sport apparel brand that shot to fame in the 90’s, the new jerseys are inspired by the iconic Hummel design of the same era. Upon release the club boasted that ‘both designs joyfully reflect the club’s recent trend for vibrant and eye-catching goalkeeper creations.

However, public opinion could not be further from this. Shortly after the club posted an image of the new attire to social mediate the tirade of abuse began, with many quick to condemn the club for ‘politicising the game.’

“As a kit it looks dope af. but idk if it’s to support LGBTQ or nah. personally, I like watching football without these kind of society things and political stuff etc. just here to enjoy the beautiful game,” one Twitter user proclaimed.

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 Other users of the social media platform were quick to defend the clubs new look, whilst rightly pointing out that in fact the new jerseys in no way look or represent the pride flag.

“(The Club) have not even mentioned the kit being at all relevant to the LGBTQ+ community and this isn’t even the rainbow flag. If you dislike the shirts for their design that’s fine, but all of this homophobia is actually appalling,” one tweet read.

Homophobia in sport, both on and off field, is of course still a prevalent and concerning issue. The fact that there are no openly gay professional football players in the English Football League speaks volumes to the toxic culture that still exists. In Australia, a recent study revealed 73% of players surveyed from clubs that had not participated in a Pride Cup event said that they had witnessed their coach using homophobic language and 30% had witnessed their coaches doing the same in the past two weeks

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Thomas Beattie in June of this year, became only the third male major league footballer in UK sporting history to come out as gay following Justin Fashanu in 1990 and Robbie Rogers, an American player who came out after leaving Leeds FC in 2013.

In a a recent interview Beattie summed up the current state of play best by saying, “I was standing still on that front. Society [told] me masculinity is linked to sexuality and so being an athlete playing a physical sport felt like a huge contradiction.”

Bristol Football Club are yet to make a public comment in response to the backlash it has received over the club’s new jerseys.

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