40 adult and youth grassroots football clubs in Cumberland wore rainbow laces recently to back Stonewall’s campaign and support LGBT+ inclusion in football.
Cumberland FA were one of 23 County Football Associations across the country who helped to distribute almost 16,000 pairs of laces onto local football pitches to help raise the profile of the annual campaign.
Stonewall research found that most people want to see action against anti LGBT language in sport, but only a quarter feel confident calling it out. Rainbow Laces is all about giving people the confidence and the tools to be active allies to LGBT people in sport.
In Cumberland, the Egremont and District Sunday League, Carlisle Glass Longhorn Youth League and the West Cumbria Youth League got involved, with around 1,000 pairs of rainbow laces being worn.
Helen Aitchison of the Cumberland FA said: “The support we received from the local grassroots community was fantastic. We didn’t have enough laces to go around, so many clubs were cutting them in half or splitting pairs to make sure everyone who wanted to get involved could.
“The important thing now for clubs and leagues is to continue to be active allies to the LGBT+ community to ensure that everyone is welcome to play football where they want.”
Cumberland FA’s social media channels were inundated with clubs showing their support wearing the rainbow laces. The photos can be viewed at www.facebook.com/CumberlandFA
As part of the campaign, Cumberland FA urged local teams to tag the County FA in photos to help raise the profile of the campaign, with some Nike footballs up for grabs.
The winner of the random tagged photo on Cumberland FA’s profile was Workington Reds Ladies FC. With five weekends of postponed fixtures throughout the period of the campaign, the Reds tagged CFA into a training session tweet.
The winner of the most innovative post went to Carlisle Centurions JFC.
The importance of the grassroots football community getting behind this campaign is shown in this quote alone, from ICM/Stonewall Research: “The Rainbow Laces campaign inspired around 7 million people to feel more positive about LGBT inclusion in sport after seeing the campaign, and as a result, around 4.8 million people say they would be more likely to challenge anti-LGBT language in sport”
The local football community is reminded that abuse isn’t banter. Be an active ally to LGBT+ people - challenge slurs and report abuse when you see it.
If you are the target of LGBT abuse and feel the need to speak to someone, then there are a number of ways to get help from The FA and organisations like Stonewall.
You can also report any concerns directly to your club, County FA, The FA or Kick It Out.
Cumberland FA would like to thank the leagues and clubs who backed the campaign and became active allies in supporting LGBT+ people in sport and helped to ‘Make Football Everyone’s Game.’
CFM Radio also featured the local campaign on their news bulletin.
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