The laces have been distributed to every footballer across all 134 professional clubs in the UK. Each player is asked to wear the special laces in their club fixtures on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 September. The campaign’s simple message of ‘Right Behind Gay Footballers’ is designed to kick start a change in attitudes and make our national game more gay-friendly.
Paddy Power and Stonewall are asking fans and the public to back the campaign by taking to social media and using the hashtag #RBGF, Right Behind Gay Footballers, during the week and in the build-up to the weekend fixtures.
Kicking off on Monday 16 September there will be a week of activity shining the spotlight on homophobia in football. The campaign will see daily advertising and editorials across traditional media, billboard sites, and through social media with the aim of getting support from footballers, celebrities, fans and the public.
Stonewall Deputy Chief Executive Laura Doughty said: ‘It’s time for football clubs and players to step up and make a visible stand against homophobia in our national game. That’s why we’re working with Paddy Power on this fun and simple campaign. By wearing rainbow laces players will send a message of support to gay players and can begin to drag football in to the 21st century.’
Paddy Power, the bookmaker’s spokesman, said; ‘We love football but it needs a kick up the arse. In most other areas of life people can be open about their sexuality and it’s time for football to take a stand and show players it doesn’t matter what team they play for. Fans can show they are right behind this by simply tweeting using the #RBGF hashtag whilst all players have to do is lace up this weekend to help set an example in world sport.’