Rotterdam gay ambassadors call it quits; Feyenoord refused talks

The Rotterdam gay ambassadors are quitting after four years. The reason for this is that the seven prominent Rotterdam residents, who on behalf of the city worked to make homosexuality an approachable topic, can not get access to professional football clubs in the city. This said the ambassadors in Trouw today.

The ambassadors wanted more support from the municipality to help them enter football clubs. However municipal support for the action has been "very limited" in recent years, and declined further under the current alderman, Ronald Schneider of Leefbaar Rotterdam, the ambassadors said. The group started in 2010. During the first years they successfully visited schools to talk about homosexuality.

The same was supposed to happen with sports clubs, both in the major football clubs Feyenoord, Sparta and Excelsior and small amateur clubs. "It was difficult. In a small football club we were told that the subject of homosexuality was irrelevant, because it does not play at the association. The big clubs are an example for the small associations. There the same mentality prevails: talking about homosexuality is not a priority." said ambassador Joke Ellenkamp in Trouw.

According to former alderman Herman Meijer, Feyenoord especially did not want to participate. The ambassadors, which include VVD Parliamentarian Mark Harbers and former director of Boijmans van Beuningen Hugo Bongers, are quitting because the municipality does not want to help force the clubs to participate.

Feyenoord said in a reaction that the refusal to work with the gay ambassadors does not mean that Feyenoord rejects the initiative for gay emancipation. "We are constantly approached by various charities and initiatives. Therefore a few years back we already made a choice to focus on a limited number of projects, with two themes: preventing school dropout and the prevention of obesity. Many parties are therefore told no, unfortunately." said a spokesperson.