Village Manchester, one of the leading gay football teams in the country, are throwing their support behind this year's Rainbow Laces campaign.
The campaign, which sees hundreds of professional and grassroots footballers and fans don rainbow laces, was set up to start a national conversation about why out of over 5,000 players there are no openly gay professional footballers – a scenario with odds of over a quadragintillion to one. It also wants to create awareness of homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia in football and to foster a positive atmosphere if a player was to come out.
Last year the campaign, which is delivered by Paddy Power, Stonewall and the Gay Football Supporters’ Network, saw lots of media coverage and this year it is getting even bigger with Premier League support, a spokesperson in the form of Thomas Hitzlsperger and a TV/cinema ad featuring Arsenal players.
The week-long campaign culminates on the weekend of 13 and 14 September and Village Manchester will be doing their bit by lacing their boots up with rainbow coloured laces for their Manchester Accountants League fixture.
Rob McPherson, Communications Officer at Village Manchester, said: "Last year the laces went down a storm and they created an astonishing amount of debate around homophobia in football. It is great that teams like Manchester City and Arsenal are getting involved and I hope that the enhanced involvement of more clubs, players and public figures will further boost the message of the campaign.
"The campaign's theme is 'Change the Game' and by Village Manchester taking part in it I hope we can change the game at the local grassroots level."
Rainbow coloured laces have been dispatched to every single professional player in the UK, including youth and women’s teams, alongside deliveries to all 650 MPs and leading political figures. Fans are encouraged to tweet their support using the official hashtag: #RainbowLaces
Village Manchester are a gay and inclusive club that is open to both gay and straight players. The club has two teams who train every Thursday and play games every Sunday and they are always on the lookout for new players. For further information about Village Manchester please visit www.vmfc.co.uk.
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Research from Stonewall shows that seven in ten football fans have heard or witnessed homophobia on the terraces and more than 40 per cent believe football to be an anti-gay sport.
During the 2013 Rainbow Laces campaign hundreds of professional footballers laced up including Leighton Baines, Olivier Giroud and Joey Barton, alongside widespread support from Ed Miliband, the Department of Culture, Media & Sport, Stephen Fry and Gary Lineker.
In addition to club, player and fan support, some of the UK’s best known brands are supporting this year’s Rainbow Laces campaign. Premier Inn renamed themselves as Premier Out in all their communications for a day and HTC/Carphone Warehouse, Playstation, Sega, Relish Broadband, KLM, Heineken, Pepsico, Lastminute.com, Dr Martens, BT Broadband / BT Sport, Starbucks, Fiat and Jersey Tourism are just some of the other brands that are also involved.
Village Manchester Football Club are a gay men's football club with ambition and commitment in providing all players and supporters with a competitive, yet fun approach to the beautiful game. Formed in 1996, we meet up every week for training and compete in local and national leagues and also travel to international tournaments on a regular basis. In the summer of 2013 the club became IGFLA European champions. www.vmfc.co.uk
Village Manchester lace up for Rainbow Laces campaign
9 September 2014