The members of Camden and Islington United (Candi), a football club owned by the community, chose to not participate in their Sunday Wembley Cup semi-final due to being subjected to “appalling instances of misogyny” by their rivals, Munter Hunters FC.
Candi are holders of the Sunday Wembley Cup but, after reporting the issue to the London Football League and the Amateur Football Alliance, they withdrew from the competition after the league refused to postpone the game while the case was investigated. The league subsequently agreed to a postponement pending the outcome of an Amateur FA investigation.
Kai-Yen Thomas, the representative for the men’s team on the Candi board, stated that there are certain issues that are more important than football. He expressed respect for the 80+ female players, coaches, and board members at their club. The team cannot play against a team with a negative presence on social media. They are hopeful that the league and the FA will quickly address this issue so that they can continue playing football.
Candi was aware of their upcoming opponents in both the league and cup, known as MHFC. This is the name they use for registration in the London Football League and the Amateur FA. However, the team discovered through a post on social media that the initials actually stand for Munter Hunters FC. “Munter” is a disrespectful term commonly aimed at unattractive women. Upon further investigation, they found additional offensive material on the team’s public social media accounts.
MHFC stated that they were communicating with the FA and due to an ongoing investigation, they would refrain from providing further comments at this moment.
Nick Wigmore, the founder and chief executive of Candi and a player on the Sunday team, said: “We built Camden and Islington United precisely because we wanted to show that football could and should be done differently. We have over 50% women on our board, we have an equal number of men’s and women’s teams, and we have women coaching across genders. Similarly, we have coaches, both men and women, with Black and Asian heritage leading the women’s programme, which has historically excluded women from global ethnic majorities .… This recent incident reconfirms that there is still much work to be done, to educate and embolden leagues to take decisive action when they are made aware of offensive and discriminatory behaviour.”
In a statement, Candi stated that they would not participate in a game against MHFC until the league shows a strong commitment and capability to take effective measures.
The London Football League announced that the game has been delayed and stated, “We would rather wait for the FA’s investigation to be completed before expressing our viewpoint on this issue.”
The CEO of the Amateur FA, Jason Kilby, stated that they consider all reports of improper conduct with great importance and are dedicated to eradicating discrimination and promoting diversity within their organization and throughout amateur football.
Kilby stated that they have communicated with the other team and recommended that they delay the match until an investigation is finished. As a regulated competition, they informed them of the procedures for enforcing their rules. They are adhering to FA guidelines in the examination of misconduct and collaborating with the FA’s grassroots disciplinary team, as this is a significant matter.
According to a representative from the Football Association, we are collaborating with the Amateur Football Alliance to aid in their inquiry and take necessary actions. We vehemently denounce any kind of misogyny, as it has no place in football or society as a whole. We will ensure that any club or individual found guilty of such behavior will face consequences. Any reports of this nature are treated with utmost seriousness and will not be tolerated in our sport.
Chair of Candi, Kat Craig, expressed her pride in the Sunday men’s team and their display of allyship. She acknowledged that solidarity sometimes requires sacrifice and expressed gratitude for the support of players, sponsors, members, and the larger community in taking a stance. The goal is to make football an inclusive space and this gesture is hoped to inspire positive change.