UK gay football team is leading the way for more co's to sponsor athletics

Dylan Vox | January 12, 2007

MANCHESTER — The Europeans seem to understand the huge advantage of using sports as part of a marketing campaign a little better than the United States. This should come as no shock to any red blooded American who knows that we view sex as a taboo subject, while Europeans seem to revel in sexuality. After the successful Dieux de Stade rugby calendar which in its homoerotic pictorials shows that sports are made for more than just beer drinking overweight middle aged men, now the Brits are showing their support for gay athletics.

This week The Village Manchester FootBall Club ( VMFC), which is the north of England's premier gay football club has clinched a major three-year sponsorship deal with Recon.com, a fetish site for gay men. The three-year deal announced on December 11, 2006, by recon's Managing Director Philip Hamill and VMFC Head of communications Jason McAuley, makes recon the Principle Club Sponsor for the VMFC 1st and 2nd Teams, and will see the club change their traditional blue 'home' shirts in favor of a sexy new red one emblazoned with the recon logo.

The Village Manchester team was formed in 1996 by a small yet determined group of friends who formed a team to enable like-minded individuals to play a sport they were passionate about in a competitive local league. The resounding motivation of forming the team was, in part, to prove a point against a common view that a gay team could not compete in a competitive straight league, but more importantly, the club was a focal point for all involved to keep fit and socialize together. The team has been competing in weekly Sunday league matches and gay football tournaments around the world over the past ten years and has gained overwhelming recognition.

The club has gone from strength to strength since its foundation winning promotion for the first time to the Manchester Accountants League Premier Division in the 2003/04 season and gained the respect of all opponents in this predominantly 'straight' sport. The club has never been stronger and the confidence is high going into each new season. They have gone through some positive changes recently, in addition to a structured management team, and adding a second team which competes in the GFSN League and runs weekly training sessions for everybody, regardless of ability, in addition to training aimed at improving our competitive players.

Last year, Village Manchester came close to clinching the International Gay and Lesbian Football Association's world championship title in Copenhagen. The club powered their way to the final where they met Paris PAEC. Manchester scored first for a 1-0 half-time lead. But Paris equalized on the hour. And it stayed 1-1 to the end, with Manchester succumbing to the French side 4-2 in the penalty shoot-out for second place in championships. The club did not compete in the 2006 championship, which were held in Chicago during the Gay Games, but the London's Stonewall FC which comes from similar beginnings did win gold and the title by beating Florida Storm 3-1 in the final.

But there is no stopping the Village team which definitely plans to take part in the IGLFA World Championships next year in Buenos Aries. Despite the club's ambition, they remain fully inclusive, and are open to anyone who is gay and finds football fun. The clubs great success is one of the selling points which have attracted sponsorship from some of the local bars and clubs such as Taurus which is one of Manchester's Award Winning Bar and Restaurants.

"VMFC have had a great deal of success in local and national leagues, and will be attending the International Gay and Lesbian Football Association (IGLFA) World Cup in Argentina during 2007, we anticipate that this deal will open up some excellent opportunities for us both, " Hamill said about the new deal.

This new level of national sponsorship from Recon.com will allow the teams to expand, and with more sponsorship there will be more success and more exposure for gay sports in general. Recon.com is an online men's site similar to gay.com, and the see the marriage of the two forces as something that will benefit both sides. "We see this partnership as complementary to the growth of our membership as we attract an increasing number of younger gay men to recon, many of whom have a particular interest in football or sports," commented Hamill.

McAuley also expressed his enthusiasm saying, "We will be exploring the many exciting opportunities both organizations now have both on and off the pitch."

Sponsorship of sports by gay companies seems like a logical step in the future gay advertising, and hopefully the Americans will catch on to the trend. Promoting different athletics shows that there is more to gay life than just random trips to the club. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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