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sporting progress Northern Ireland's first LGBTQ+ football club to have invitational match this weekend

The team was established in 2019 but development of the club was hampered by the pandemic

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Some of the players of Belfast Blaze FC (Pic Belfast Blaze)

Some of the players of Belfast Blaze FC (Pic Belfast Blaze)

Some of the players of Belfast Blaze FC (Pic Belfast Blaze)

Northern Ireland's first LGBTQ+ football team is to have an exhibition match this Sunday.

Belfast Blaze FC, who were established in 2019, are to take on south Belfast club Newtown Forest FC in a friendly invitational.

The match will kick off at 1.30pm at Newforge Community Development Trust, Newforge Lane, Belfast.

A spokesperson for Belfast Blaze said: “The team has grown from having casual kick-about, to training sessions and now playing friendly matches against local clubs. It is primarily a team for gay men, but all are welcome!”

The team will also be reaching out to new players on the day who wish to come and play and there will be food and drinks as well as a raffle to raise funds for the team at the event.

Blaze is the first LGBTQ+ team to be set up in Northern Ireland, but with the timing of their establishment in 2019, the club was set back by the Covid-10 crisis in terms of development and the recruitment of new players.

The club has recently announced they are to be sponsored by Pride Sports UK, who work to challenge homophobia and discrimination in the sporting world.

Belfast Blaze player Danny Malone spoke of his experience playing for the team for The Jumble Magazine, saying: “Being able to play a sport you love without feeling out of place.

“It's so great to play football and feel welcome.

“Belfast Blaze have lots of different players on different levels from different backgrounds- so absolutely everyone is made to feel a part of the club.”

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