Football is ‘coming out’ for LGBT+ equality this month to celebrate Stonewall’s award-winning Rainbow Laces campaign and to be an ally of inclusion. Clubs from across Somerset will join the likes of the Premier League, the EFL, the Barclays FA Women’s Super League and thousands of grassroots clubs in support of LGBT+ equality.
The campaign kicks off today, Friday 22 November, and runs through to Sunday 8 December with all 50 County Football Associations showing support for LGBT+ inclusion. This is a significant milestone which has seen 21,500 laces and 1,250 captain’s armbands distributed to clubs, leagues and the women’s football pyramid for local, regional and national fixtures by the FA’s organising committee led by County FA and FA Staff.
According to Stonewall’s research, over four in ten LGBT people (43 per cent) think public sporting events aren’t welcoming for them.
The combined efforts of grassroots clubs and leagues continues to generate awareness of and help tackle homophobia, transphobia and biphobia abuse. However, while progress has been made, there is still work to be done to encourage people to be active allies of LGBT+ people and make football For All. 20 Clubs and 35 Referees across Somerset, as well as Somerset FA’s U16 Representative Team and U16 Girls Advanced Coaching Centre squads will be decked out with Rainbow Laces and captain’s armbands for the period of the campaign and beyond!
The FA recognises that football can play an important role in encouraging everyone to be themselves and creating acceptance in wider society and, with this in mind, LGBT+ is a significant focus of In Pursuit of Progress, The FA’s equality, diversity and inclusion plan.
In November 2018 The FA announced a partnership with Stonewall, the UK’s leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights charity. This led to Stonewall FC’s Middlesex County Football League Division One clash with Wilberforce Wanderers AFC being played at Wembley Stadium – the first time a non-League seasonal fixture has been hosted at the national stadium. The FA continues to be an ally of the LGBT+ community, supporting the annual Rainbow Laces campaign, delivering ticketing opportunities for LGBT+ fan groups at every England game, while over 50 FA employees and County FA staff took part in July’s Pride parade in central London.
Conor Ogilvie-Davidson, Somerset FA’s Marketing Officer and Rainbow Laces Campaign Working Group member said: “Somerset FA is fully committed to creating an inclusive environment for all to participate in football. The work done by the FA’s working group to roll this campaign out across England to all 50 Counties is a great show of teamwork and commitment to inclusion in the sport.
We were delighted to distribute 400 pairs of laces and 22 captain’s armbands across the County to teams and referees who wanted to participate in the campaign. This is the third year that Somerset FA have participated in the Rainbow Laces campaign, and this year is set to be more impactful than ever before. Thank you to the working group as well as our clubs and referees for making this campaign a huge success.”
For further details on how to get involved and access resources to promote your activation, please visit the page below.
Rainbow Laces Resources