In a fantastic weekend of football, players and fans across the UK showed massive support for this week’s Stonewall UK rainbow laces campaign. We saw a great turnout from the biggest stars to fans to Sunday league players and pundits like Gary Lineker and David Ginola wore the laces on TV. This campaign has provoked the biggest discussion around gay players and homophobia in football that the UK has ever seen.
There have been tens of thousands of tweets and over 200 million twitter impressions so far (Source: Paddy Power/Twitter) with many fans and stars tweeting pics from the grounds. Fan forums across the country have been alive with discussions on the issues around gay players and homophobia in football.
Most media outlets covered the story and the GFSN appeared on the BBC News Channel, BBC Radio 5 Live, Sky News, and many local radio stations.
GFSN Chair Chris Basiurski says:
“The rainbow laces campaign has surpassed our expectations and has been the biggest show of solidarity for LGB&T footballers we have ever seen. We’d like to express our thanks for the support from the professional clubs, players and journalists and also from across the grass roots game, schools and, of course, the GFSN National League.
The GFSN will continue working with Stonewall, Paddy Power, the football authorities, and diversity stakeholders to ensure that the momentum of this week is built upon. Initiatives like this can help us achieve our dream of a fully safe and tolerant atmosphere in football for the LGB&T community.”
GFSN MEMBERS – Most GFSN teams played this weekend in and wore the rainbow laces with victories including Saltire Thistle FC (8-1 win and 3-2 win), Village Manchester FC (5-1 win) and Cardiff Dragons FC (4-1 win). This is the world’s only national LGBT football league. Hundreds of GFSN members stood in the stands and watched matches on TV, with many wearing rainbow laces and rainbow flags. Our friends the Gay Gooners raised a lot of interest with their customary supporters club banner at the Emirates.
CLUBS – Many clubs supported the campaign including Everton, QPR, West Ham, Charlton Athletic, Reading, York City, Leyton Orient, Stenhousemuir, Burnley and more. The entire AFC Wimbledon team and even the ref wore rainbow laces!
PLAYERS – High-profile footballers that wore the laces included:
Phil Jagielka, Tim Howard, Johnny Heitinga, Leighton Baines (Everton)
Eni Aluku, Toni Duggan (England Women’s Internationals)
Joey Barton, Danny Simpson (QPR)
Thomas Vermaelen, Mikel Arteta, and Olivier Giroud (Arsenal)
Leroy Fer, Robert Snodgrass, RickyVanWolfswinkel, WesHoolahan (Norwich City)
Paul Dummett, Mike Williamson, (Newcastle United)
David Stockdale (Fulham)
Rohan Ince, Casper Ankergren, and more (Brighton & Hove Albion)
Sean Morrison (Reading)
Keith Treacy (Burnley)
Louis Dodds (Port Vale)
Martyn Waghorn (Milwall)
Openly gay players Robbie Rogers (LA Galaxy) and Anton Hysen (Utsiktens BK)
CELEBRITIES / POLITICS – Celebrities, politicians and ex-players wore the laces including:
Gary Lineker (wore laces GFSN sent him on BBC MOTD)
David Ginola, Matt Dawson, Jake Humphries (BT Sports team)
The entire Labour party football team including Shadow Ministers Ed Balls and Andy Burnham, wore laces for their annual match against journalists at their party conference in Brighton.
A motion of support was lodged by a group of SNP MSP’s in the Scottish Parliament and received direct support from Nicola Sturgeon MSP.