Monday 19 August 2019

Why are sports clubs displaying rainbows this weekend?

You may have seen a fair few rainbows on your television this weekend, so what’s it all about?

(Richard Sellers/EMPICS Sport)
(Richard Sellers/EMPICS Sport)

By Taylor Heyman

Stadiums across the UK are filling with rainbows this weekend to support LGBT people in sport.

The #RainbowLaces campaign launched by charity Stonewall aims to counteract homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in sport by raising awareness and encouraging sportspeople and fans to support the LGBT community.

The campaign reached the echelons of a range of sports this weekend, appearing from Wembley to Twickenham.

West Ham football club was just one of many clubs to show their support for the campaign. They lit up the former Olympic stadium in a bright rainbow before their game against Leicester City on Friday night.

( Nigel French/EMPICS Sport)

Players and mascots got involved in the fun too, posing with the rainbow flag or wearing the laces themselves.

According to Stonewall, seven in every ten fans have heard homophobic abuse in football crowds, a figure it hopes will be lowered through awareness campaigns like #RainbowLaces.

The charity has also designed a sports toolkit for clubs and schools to use to help them before more actively inclusive.


The home of some of football’s biggest match-ups also played its part.

Rugby wasn’t to be left behind, though.

Starting a week of support for LGBT people in sport, Wasps forward James Haskell featured in a film to talk about what the campaign means to him.

Referee Nigel Owens showed off his spectacular laces before the England vs Samoa rugby test on Saturday afternoon, and a number of players taking part in the Autumn Internationals also sported the rainbow flag.

A range of other sports also joined in, including Hockey.

Stonewall shared its delight at the number of elite and amateur sports clubs taking part on Twitter.

So far, the charity has sold more than 180,000 pairs of rainbow laces.

PA Media

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