Israel’s first transgender player leads FvH friendly match at Ramat Gan National Stadium23 February 2018

RoyOhana, Israel’sfirsttransgenderplayer,hasleadthecelebrationsofFootballvHomophobiamonthofactioninIsraelduringafriendlymatchorganisedbyFaremember NewIsraelFund(NIF)on18Februaryatthe RamatGanNationalStadium.

The match was played under the motto “Colours of the Rainbow” between the LGBTQ team Rainball and a team of Israeli celebrities.

It was organised by NIF’s anti-discrimination campaign Kick It Out Israel in partnership with the Israel Football Association (FA), who landed their support to an event aimed at tackling homophobia in football for the first time-ever.

Israel FA CEO Rotem Kamer said: “The football pitch and stadiums must be a place for everybody, providing them with a genuine feeling of equality. The Israel FA is proud to take part in various ventures aimed striving towards a society that respects everybody and is more accepting and empowering.”

NIF Israel Executive Director Mickey Gitzin told those present that the event was a breakthrough moment for many young players.

The Rainball team received support from the youth players of Hapoel Katamon Jerusalem and KIO Israel Team for Social Responsibility – a recently launched team of mixed star players from all Israel’s leagues and communities who use their celebrity role model status to speak out against racism and in favour of joint living, social inclusion and tolerance.

Ahead of the match, players line-up with a banner reading “Kick Out Homophobia from Football”.

Ron Cohen, the founder of the Rainball team said: “We came here today to kick homophobia out of football and to ensure that ‘homo’ is no longer slur used at matches. It’s about time that we understand that the football belongs to us all regardless of our differences.”

Supplied by New Israel Fund