Brighton have become the first Premier League club to commit to providing female fans with free sanitary products.
The football club has been applauded on social media for their decision to sign up to the campaign “On the Ball” which was launched by three female Celtic supporters.
Students Orlaith Duffy, Erin Slaven and Mikaela McKinley originally set up the campaign in the hope of raising the profile and visibility of women at football matches.
Part of that included trying to encourage clubs to cater to the needs of female supporters.
After noticing the lack of sanitary products in the Celtic FC stadium toilets earlier this year, Erin Slaven teamed up with fellow fans, mental health nurse Orlaith Duffy, and banker Mikaela McKinley to try to insight change.
Hey! We are Orlaith, Erin and Mikaela. We successfully campaigned for free sanitary product provision @ our own club, Celtic. Now, our goal is for other teams to follow Celtic’s example and get #OnTheBall ⚽💥 pic.twitter.com/qQtykDw2x0
— On The Ball (@OnTheBaw) June 29, 2018
The trio set up On The Ball this summer, which they hope will empower other football fans to fight period poverty.
“One of the most important things for us is this remains fan-led. We want to keep this grassroots,” McKinley told Big Issue.
“We wanted to give female fans of all ages a platform for activism, because so often it can be male faced. It’s really empowering knowing we did it and we’re helping other women do the same,” Slaven added.
Since launching, there are now 13 clubs in the UK who have signed up to the initiative, including their own club Celtic, and McKinley hopes that following Brighton’s lead, more Premier League clubs will come on board.
“I think it takes us back to the role football clubs have a part in the community beyond football,” McKinley said.
“A lot of smaller clubs were quick to come on board because they’re perhaps a bit more in tune with what their fanbase wants. But in terms of visibility it’s great to have a Premier League club on board,” she added.
And the move by Brighton has certainly gone down well on social media.
— M (@mjmxx) August 29, 2018
“Well done! @OfficialBHAFC let’s hope all @premierleague get behind this great initiative!,” one fan wrote
“Well Done #BHAFC – Leading the way in the #PL #FreePeriods #PeriodPositive,” another agreed.
The campaign first started picking up traction when one football fan tweeted a picture of a basket full of sanitary products at Barnsley’s Oakwell stadium.
— Hazel (@hackneyhaz) August 18, 2018
“We don’t believe you should pay for essential items. Please use these if needed,” a sign next to the basket read.
Speaking about the ongoing campaign McKinley said: “It’s important for football clubs to be inclusive and we hope this will encourage female fans to think they are being listened to.”
All the clapping hand emojis.
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