IRELAND’S only gay men’s football team has succeeded in bringing a major football tournament to Dublin.
The Dublin Devils, which play their competitive games at the grounds of Wesley College in Dundrum and train at Crumlin United, were instrumental in securing the International Gay and Lesbian Football Association European (IGLFA) Championships next summer.
The event taking place at the Dublin City University sports grounds from June 13 to 16 next year will bring up to 1,000 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) visitors to Dublin.
Some 32 teams from over 15 European countries will compete in the tournament, which is regarded as the premier event on the IGLFA European calendar.
Francis Fitzgibbon, a spokesperson for the club, said the Dublin Devils FC secured the event after a long campaign to attract the tournament to Dublin.
He said many hours of preparation, presentations and site visits went into securing the championship, which is second in importance to the IGLFA World Cup, which was hosted in Mexico City earlier this year.
The Dublin Devils, who count about 50 members in their ranks, were formed in 2005 and have since become an integral part of the gay community in Dublin.
Mr Fitzgibbon said the club wanted to bring the tournament to Dublin in an effort to raise the profile of the gay community in Ireland.
“We thought it was important that the championships are held here as it will increase the visibility of our community in Dublin,” he said. “For us it is really all about a positive image and about representing different people within the community in Dublin and in Ireland. We are Ireland’s only gay football team and our members are from all over the country. We also have a lot of foreigners on the team as well who have made Dublin their home over the last number of years.”
Dublin’s Lesbian football team, the Phoenix Tigers, which is based in the Phoenix Park, have also been invited by the Dublin Devils to oversee the women’s tournament, which forms part of the event.
The International Gay and Lesbian Football Association was founded in 1992. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, it boasts a membership of over 80 teams from more than 20 countries from all over the world.
Its primary goal is to foster and augment the self-respect of gay women and men throughout the world and to engender respect and understanding from the non-gay world through football.
Anyone who wants to learn more about the Dublin Devils FC can log on to www.dublindevilsfc.com or follow the team on www.facebook.com/dublindevilsfc
The club can also be contacted by emailing info@dublindevilsfc .com