The Premier League is throwing its support behind Stonewall’s LGBT campaign by organizing a variety of activities this coming weekend. All clubs are taking part in the Rainbow Laces campaign created by Stonewall.
Each of the referees at the 10 fixtures will wear rainbow laces in their boots and they are expected to be joined by several players. Every game will be opened with a giant Premier League Rainbow Laces flag and on Saturday the Wembley Arch will be illuminated in rainbow colours. Perimeter advertising at all grounds will also contain supportive messages.
All 10 Premier League fixtures on Saturday and Sunday will include Rainbow Laces perimeter board advertising, pre-match Rainbow Laces flags, the Premier League confirmed.
This follows a Stonewall survey that revealed 72 per cent of football fans have heard homophobic abuse at a live sports event. A BBC survey of more than 4,000 people across England, Wales and Scotland also revealed that eight per cent of fans would stop supporting their club if one of their players came out.
Last month, the Football Association chairman, Greg Clarke, said he was “personally ashamed” that no professional footballers had felt able to come out in the English game and that he believed they would suffer “significant abuse” if they did so.
Premier League chairman Richard Scudamore said: “The Premier League is all about exciting, passionate and unpredictable football that is for everyone, everywhere.
“The Rainbow Laces campaign complements the work clubs are doing to promote inclusion and diversity in their stadiums, and across all levels of the sport.”
“Our support for the campaign is further recognition that the LGBT community is a vital and integral part of our community.”
Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Football Union are also taking part in the campaign.
The Rainbow Laces campaign has seen a host of Premier League players in the past ditch their original boot laces in a bid to show support to the LGBT community. England Internationals Michael Carrick and Joey Barton have worn rainbow laces in the past as have Arsenal stalwarts Laurent Koscielny, Thomas Vermaelen and Mikel Arteta.