Umpires, stumps and cricket grounds given a rainbow makeover
Sky Sports are supporting #RainbowStumps across the weekend
One in six cricket fans have heard homophobic abuse at matches
England and Wales Cricket Board are set to join Stonewall’s famous Rainbow Laces campaign.
In partnership with Sky Sports, from Thursday 10 August, the Natwest T20 Blast and Kia Super League are lacing up for the weekend matches (10-13 August).
It will be the biggest show of support for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people that cricket has ever hosted.
Rainbow flags will form part of guard of honour at every match and there will be specially designed #RainbowStumps. Umpires and Sky Sports’ commentators are also getting a rainbow makeover and thousands of fans are expected to lace up.
Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign is about welcoming and accepting LGBT people at all levels of sport.
Unfortunately, many LGBT people have a poor experience of sport, making them reluctant to take part, either as fans or as players.
While most cricket fans welcome and support LGBT people, Stonewall’s research shows that one in six have heard anti LGBT remarks at live games.
Half of all sports fans have heard homophobic abuse in sport in the past five years.
Robbie De Santos, Head of Campaigns at Stonewall, said: ‘It’s great that cricket has joined our campaign and is giving so much support and visibility to LGBT equality in sport this weekend. We know from our research that across all sports there are LGBT people who don’t feel welcome or able to be themselves. Our campaign is aimed at making sport, whatever sport that is, everyone’s game.
‘We want as many sports, sports associations, organisations and clubs to join our campaign and be visible and proud of their support of lesbian, gay, bi and trans people, whether they’re players or fans.’
Steve Smith, Director of Content, Production and Operations at Sky Sports, said: ‘As a member of TeamPride, Sky Sports are proud to work with the ECB to support Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign across sport. Having covered the campaign’s continuing visibility in football, we are now looking forward to bringing ‘rainbow stumps’ to life at the cricket. Our dedicated Sky Cricket channel will broadcast live rainbow-themed Kia Super League and NatWest T20 Blast matches to screens across the UK & Ireland, encouraging LGBT inclusion and equality in sport at all levels.’
Tom Harrison, ECB’s Chief Executive Officer, said: ‘Our thanks to Stonewall for inviting ECB to support the campaign and spread the message that cricket is a game for everyone. We’re proud to be a part of it and we will be encouraging as many fans, players and officials as possible to show their support for the initiative by sporting Rainbow Laces this weekend. It’s a great way reiterate that all communities are very welcome in the cricket family.’
Chris Sherwood, Press and Publicity Officer at Graces Cricket, said: ‘This is such an important first step being taken by the ECB and Sky Sports towards culture change in cricket. As the world's first LGBT cricket club, there is no question to us that there is still a great need for action - just a few weeks ago a Facebook campaign aimed at cricket fans to promote our club attracted almost exclusively homophobic responses. It's no surprise, therefore, that we welcome this campaign, as we welcome people, with open arms.’
Stonewall works with sports clubs at all levels to show that supporting diversity, in all its forms, is the easiest way to build a more supportive and high-performing team and a strong and loyal following.
In November last year the Premier League, English Football League, the Football Association, Rugby Football Union and a host of sports clubs and associations around Britain took part in a mass show of support for LGBT equality in sport.