- Manchester United, Pitch Marketing Group, the Premier League, O2, Sky Sports and Visa join TeamPride
- Founding members include adidas, Aon and Aviva
- Sports club and organisations host Rainbow Laces takeover this week
Stonewall, Britain’s leading lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality charity, has today confirmed that the Premier League, Manchester United, O2, Sky Sports, Visa and Pitch Marketing Group are the newest members of TeamPride.
The TeamPride coalition is committed to making sport everyone’s game by encouraging fans, players, sports clubs and organisations to show their support of lesbian, gay, bi and trans people.
The full list of members includes adidas, Aon, Aviva, Pitch Marketing Group, the Premier League, Manchester United, O2, Sky Sports and Visa.
This week (21 November – 27 November), as part of the Stonewall Rainbow Laces campaign, sport clubs across Britain are hosting a Rainbow Laces takeover.
The Premier League are marking their support for the campaign at every fixture this weekend. Perimeter advertising at every match will include supporting Rainbow Laces messaging and every game will be opened with a giant Premier League Rainbow Laces flag.
Football clubs around Britain, including all Premier League Clubs, and a number of clubs in the Championship, League One and League Two, English Football League and Welsh Rugby.
Football clubs include Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool FC, Hull City and rugby clubs include Sale, Newcastle, Bristol and Bath.
Activities include teams wearing Rainbow Laces during training sessions, laces being handed out at weekend fixtures and clubs organising meetings between LGBT fan groups.
Working alongside Stonewall, TeamPride brings together organisations from diverse sectors to find ways of creating inclusive and equal environments in sports for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people.
Early this year Stonewall released new research conducted by ICM into homophobic, biphobic and transphobic attitudes and experiences among sports fans.
The research, released in September, showed that 72 per cent of football fans have heard homophobic abuse at a live sports event. But it also showed that the majority of sports fans support and welcome LGBT fans and players, with almost two thirds (63 per cent) saying more should be done to make LGBT people feel accepted in sport.
This week’s campaign is about empowering that majority to step up and show their support of LGBT people, to help make sport everyone’s game.
As part of the Rainbow Laces week, Pitch Marketing Group has produced a campaign video for Stonewall featuring LGBT athletes and fans talking about the effect that homophobic, biphobic and transphobic language has on sportspeople.
The film features British canoeing champion Matt Lister, Sophie Cook, club photographer for AFC Bournemouth, and former England and Team GB women’s football captain Casey Stoney, as well as coaches, fans and players – all of whom identify as lesbian, bi, gay or trans.
Stonewall is now looking for more organisations to join TeamPride, to provide further resources and support, and to enable the charity to tackle the problems raised in the research so that sport can be everyone’s game. TeamPride is the headline sponsor for successful inclusive football club, Stonewall FC, in the 2016 / 2017 season.
Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive of Stonewall, said: 'We’re pleased that such powerful organisations have stepped up and given their support to our Rainbow Laces campaign, and now we urge more organisations to become part of our team. Sport should be everyone’s game but unfortunately there is a persistent minority who think it’s ok to make offensive remarks or join in with chants that make fans and players feel unsafe and unwelcome.
We all have a responsibility to show that sport is for everyone.’
Robin Stalker, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Board Member, adidas said: ‘We’re thrilled to be part of TeamPride. Sport should be open to everyone and we believe that through sport we have the power to change lives and through sports we can make this change happen. We are incredibly proud to be working with other organisations as part of TeamPride to support Stonewall and ensure that sport is for everyone.’
Phil Clement, Global Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Aon said: ’Aon is proud to be a part of TeamPride and I firmly believe the group holds an enormous ability to influence the sports industry. There is still much more we need to do before all LGBT people can live freely as themselves. Sport unites us all and TeamPride and Stonewall are committed to making sport everyone’s game by raising awareness of these issues this November.’
Peter Markey, Brand & Marketing Communications Director, Aviva UK said: ‘We are very pleased to be part of TeamPride, and look forward to supporting Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign through our sponsorship of Aviva Premiership Rugby and Norwich City FC.
‘This is an important opportunity to continue the great work Stonewall has done to ensure that sport is an arena that is inclusive for all. Working with other organisations, who share our commitment to this, is hugely exciting.’
Richard Arnold, Group Managing Director, Manchester United, said: ‘Joining TeamPride shows that Manchester United is fully committed to equality across the Club. We are working with Stonewall and other organisations to ensure we are at the forefront of equality and inclusion and we look forward to building on this partnership as we look to each other to share best practice, eradicating discrimination from sport and society.’
Bridget Lea, Director of Retail, Online and Omni-Channel at O2, said: ‘We’re proud to join a growing collective of businesses and organisations who are committed to making sport everyone’s game. By coming together we can change attitudes and create not just a sportsfield where lesbian, gay, bi and trans people are accepted, but a society that is accepting of everyone, without exception.’
Henry Chappell, CEO OF Pitch Marketing Group, said: ‘We are extremely proud to be members of TeamPride and delighted to have been strategically and creatively involved in producing a campaign that celebrates diversity and promotes equality both on and off the pitch. The Rainbow Laces movement is evidence that sport has the power to change attitudes and perceptions, and we will continue to work with Stonewall to harness that power and to send a clear message to the public that sport is everyone’s game.’
Premier League Executive Chairman, Richard Scudamore, said: ‘The Premier League is all about exciting, passionate and unpredictable football that is for everyone, everywhere. The Rainbow Laces campaign complements the work clubs are doing to promote inclusion and diversity in their stadiums, and across all levels of the sport. Our support for the campaign, and the decision to become members of Team Pride, is further recognition that the LGBT community is a vital and integral part of our community.’
Barney Francis, Managing Director of Sky Sports, said: ‘At Sky Sports we take pride in bringing the fantastic stories within sport to life every day, as well as the issues that lie at the heart of sport. By being part of TeamPride we can shine a light on those issues and help to tackle them. We are passionate about sport and want everyone to feel a part of it and the Rainbow Laces campaign can help make that happen. We’re proud to be a founding partner of TeamPride.’
Jamie Feldman, Club Secretary, Stonewall FC said: ‘Stonewall FC is thrilled to have TeamPride as our principal sponsor. We hope that together, under the TeamPride banner, we are able to eradicate all forms of discrimination in sport, particularly at the grass-roots football level that we play in. Having the TeamPride logo prominently displayed across our shirts will greatly increase the awareness of the campaign, and we are delighted to be involved.’
Kevin Jenkins, Managing Director of Visa UK & Ireland, said: ‘Visa is extremely proud to continue our partnership with Stonewall and to support the Rainbow Laces campaign. In sport, like in business, diversity is what pushes us forward into new, and better places. Rainbow Laces allows people to stand up in support; to be an active ally and to say that all people – lesbian, gay, bi or trans – are welcome in sport.’
Stonewall has already developed a range of measures to tackle homophobia, biphobia and transphobia at the grassroots level.
The charity has developed a toolkit to build awareness and understanding of the issues affecting LGBT people, and how they can help ensure all sports offer an inclusive and welcoming atmosphere.
Stonewall will work with all of the clubs involved in this Rainbow Laces weekend to support their efforts to make all LGBT involved in their club feel comfortable being themselves when they take part in sport.
Schools and clubs have also signed up to join in with the week of action in November to show that we can all play a part in making sport everyone’s game.