Rainbow Laces takes over sport
The Rainbow Laces campaign will get underway this weekend as sport will ‘Come Out For LGBT’ equality in the biggest show of support the Rainbow Laces campaign has ever seen.
The annual initiative, set up by Stonewall, will kick off on Friday 24 November and continue through to Sunday 3 December with activities across sport.
It is focused on inclusion at all levels of sport for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).
The Wembley Arch will be lit up in rainbow colours and the Professional Game Match Officials are also joining in across Premier League, English Football League, Premier League and Premiership Rugby, with referees lacing up for key matches.
Premier League activities start with West Ham United hosting Leicester City on Friday 24 November, and ends with Manchester City’s game with Huddersfield Town on Sunday 26 November.
As well as the captain’s armbands and rainbow laces that appeared in last year’s fixtures, the Premier League will this year introduce bespoke rainbow branding to its ball plinths, pitch flags and handshake boards. Timing board will also be given a rainbow makeover.
Ryan Atkin, the first professional referee to speak openly about being gay, said: ‘Rainbow Laces is the building block to creating a sport that’s for all. It’s great that the Premier League and the EFL are fully supportive and leading the way using their own initiatives like rainbow corner flags.
‘You don’t have to be LGBT to be a supporter of the campaign, in fact allies within the sport are more crucial than ever. I hope this campaign sees more sport stars, staff and fans publicly support LGBT people and that they make clear that homophobia and abusive comments are not acceptable. However, wearing rainbow laces for a game is not enough. If you are going to wear them, be willing to speak publicly about your support and call out abuse. We need to work together to make football and sport inclusive of all. When you change your mind, you will change the game.’
eBay are selling Rainbow Laces throughout November to help fans ‘come out’ in support of lesbian, gay, bi and trans people in sport. Already more than 100,000 laces have been sold.
For more information and how to buy laces, click here.
Find out more about how the Professional Footballers' Association supports both current and former members.