A FOOTBALL team will be using their fixture in the Isthmian league as an opportunity to show male allegiance with the cause for gender equality.

To mark the UN’s 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, Lewes FC’s men's team will wear bright orange beanies as they walk on to The Dripping Pan this afternoon in their match against Potters Bar - in keeping with the global theme Orange the World: End Violence Against Women Now.

The club are supporting the Brighton-based Survivors’ Network at the game, where volunteers will be collecting at the turnstiles and selling Christmas cards, tote bags and badges to raise funds for presents to give to survivors this Christmas.

The charity is the rape crisis centre for the county and works with those dealing with the consequences of sexual violence, the vast majority of who are women and children.

Joe Vines, assistant manager of Lewes FC men, said: “Violence against women, whether domestic or otherwise, is an issue predominantly caused by and carried out by men - there’s no denying that.

“It’s important that we, as men, recognise this and call for change and better support victims of violence.

“One of the ways we’re trying to effect change is by calling out micro-aggressions and inappropriate behaviours we may witness.

“Our voices as men carry more weight in this instance as we have to make ourselves allies to victims of violence.”

The Rooks' supporters club is also donating proceeds from today’s Golden Goal and raffle to the charity.

Director Karen Dobres said: “It’s brilliant that our male footballers - role models for many boys and men - are drawing attention to the widespread social problem of male violence against women and girls.

“Another great example of our socially owned club doing what is right by the community as a whole.”

The 16 days of activism began on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and runs until December 10, Human Rights Day.

Lewes FC became the first professional or semi-professional club to pay and resource its women’s team the same as its men’s team in 2017, as part of its Equality FC campaign.

The Rooks are also one of the only clubs in the UK where both teams play at the same home ground.

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