Sports goes rainbow as more than 20 associations join Stonewall's campaign
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rainbow laces

Sports goes rainbow as more than 20 associations join Stonewall's campaign

  • Football, rugby, netball, darts and more show support for LGBT equality

  • Fans and players given top tips on being an ally to LGBT people in sport

  • Thousands set to lace up for Wear Your Laces day on Wednesday 28 November

Thousands of fans and athletes are lacing up this month for LGBT equality in sport as part of Stonewall’s award-winning Rainbow Laces campaign.

Stonewall, the UK’s leading charity for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality, is this year challenging fans and athletes to be ‘active allies’ and to play their part in ensuring LGBT people feel included in sport.  

As part of the campaign, the charity has released resources for clubs and fans on what they can do to promote LGBT equality in sport.

These top tips include how to identify abusive language, how to effectively challenge abuse and how to report homophobic, biphobic and transphobic incidents, both on and off the pitch.    

The tips include practical suggestions everyone can take part in, such as:

Wear Rainbow Laces. Celebrate everyone in sport and make LGBT people feel welcome.  

Watch your language. Words have impact so challenge chants and insults.  

Report abuse. Learn how to report online, at live sport events and when taking part yourself.

The Rainbow Laces campaign has proved so popular it’s been extended to three weeks, kicking off on Saturday 17 November and ending on Friday 7 December.

On Wednesday 28 November thousands of fans are expected to take part in a mass lace up in a nationwide show of support for LGBT people in sport.

Thousands of laces have been sent to businesses and schools in preparation for ‘Rainbow Laces Day’. Already more than 75, 313 Rainbow Laces have been sold with an aim to sell 100, 000 this year.

The list of sports take part in this year’s campaign has grown exponentially, and now includes the British Olympic Association (Team GB), British Judo, England Hockey, England & Wales Cricket Board, English Football League, England Netball, England Rugby, the Football Association, the Football Association of Wales, the Football Association Women’s Super League and Championship, Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby, Premier League, Premiership Rugby, Professional Darts Corporation, Rounders England, Scottish Athletics, Scottish Professional Football League, Tyrells Premier 15s Women’s England Rugby UK Athletics, Welsh Athletics,  Welsh Football Premiere Leagues, Welsh Regional Rugby clubs and Welsh Rugby Union.

The Rainbow Laces campaign is made possible by TeamPride, a consortium of 10 organisations committed to making sport everyone’s game. TeamPride members are adidas, Aon, Asos, Aviva, Barclays, eBay, Manchester United, Premier League, Sky Sports and Visa.

Kirsty Clarke, Stonewall’s Director of Sport, said: ‘It’s great to see UK sport banding together in the biggest ever show of support for LGBT people in sport.

‘Whether you’re into cricket, darts, rugby, football or athletics, your sport is taking part and lacing up.

‘But it can’t just be the national bodies making this statement. We need every sports fan to do the same and commit to stand up as an ally to LGBT people in their sport and beyond.  

‘What that action looks like is simply being a good teammate and taking responsibility for making LGBT people feel welcome. Not only can you show your support, you can challenge chants or insults about LGBT people, or report abuse, whether that’s online, watching live sport or taking part.

‘So many sports wanted to take part this year we had to extend the campaign from a week to three weeks and that just shows what an appetite there is for positive change across the sporting world.’

Highlights of the campaign include:

  • British Judo is joining the campaign this year. The national governing body is showing is support across its social channels as well as sharing first-person pieces from within the sport.
  • Professional Darts Corporation is also joining the campaign and they have created special rainbow flights to be used in practice in the warm up to Grand Slam International tournament on Saturday 17 November. Darts referee Huw Ware has been named as their LGBT Darts Ambassador.
  • Women’s football will turn rainbow as a host of games in both The FA Women’s League and The FA Women’s Championship, including the Crystal Palace v Manchester United fixture on Sunday 18 November. This year The FA is keen to inspire greater involvement from grassroots with 20,000 laces sent to leagues across the country.
  • The FA will turn rainbow for the Women’s Championship which will see Crystal Palace Ladies play Manchester United Women on Sunday 18 November. This year the FA are keen to ensure grass roots clubs are involved and 20,000 laces are being sent to leagues across the country.
  • From 24 November to 1 December the EFL will be supporting Rainbow Laces with activity taking place at all 72 Clubs.  Activity includes turning every EFL corner flag rainbow coloured alongside other matchday activations. The EFL are also producing a series of short films focusing on the stories of LGBT fans of EFL Clubs
  • From 23-25 November Premiership Rugby will show its support at all six matches over the weekend. A number of initiatives are planned including players lacing up, new rainbow referee shirts and touch judge flags. 
  • Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby is showing its support at its Division One tournament from 24-25 November when players will lace up and wear rainbow headbands.
  • Premier League kick off their celebrations of Rainbow Laces on 30 November at Cardiff City Stadium where the Bluebirds will take on Wolverhampton Wanderers and continue through to 5 December with the Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton match at Wembley.
  • All 20 Premier League clubs will host a home fixture throughout the campaign this year with the support extended to two dedicated match rounds.
  • On 30 November The FA are hosting a historic match between Britain’s most successful LGBT football club, Stonewall FC, and Wilberforce Wanderers AFC at Wembley Stadium. The event celebrates a new partnership between the FA and Stonewall to improve LGBT inclusivity in football.
  • International sports are also due to show their support and for the England v Australia game at Twickenham on 24 November, players and officials are supporting the campaign, along with pitch boards hosting rainbow colours. The following match with England (Red Roses) v Ireland match will also be in support of the campaign.
  • All 42 of the Scottish Professional Football League clubs are lacing up from 30 November to 5 December, with captains wearing armbands as well as other signs of support across stadiums.
  • Off the pitch, many of the sports organisations and bodies are changing their social media profiles, as well as sending messages of support to their followers.

For more information about Stonewall please call 0207 593 1857. Find out more about Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign.