Surrey FA will join The FA, the Premier League, EFL, Barclays FA Women’s Super League, FA Women’s Championship and thousands of National League System and grassroots clubs in support of the Rainbow Laces campaign, which aims to work across communities to Make Sport Everyone’s Game.
This year’s campaign centres around allyship, which means being supportive of equal civil rights, gender equality and LGBT+ social movements, challenging homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.
Running from 26 November to 13 December, Rainbow Laces will be worn on the pitch when possible, with the campaign also focusing on online support to celebrate and galvanise LGBT+ people and allies across communities. Wednesday 9 December will be marked as Rainbow Laces Day with everybody encouraged to share their support online.
In November 2018, The FA announced a partnership with Stonewall, which has seen the organisation commit to joining its Diversity Champions programme and working together on developing and delivering bespoke staff training and empowerment programmes for FA employees across Wembley Stadium and St. George’s Park.
In recent years, Surrey FA is proud to have hosted numerous event and campaigns which have raised awareness and supported LGBT+ communities to feel safe and welcome playing football in our region.
Last year we ran a #TrickShotChallenge which called on clubs to wear their Rainbow Laces in support of the campaign while videoing themselves completing a range of audacious trickshots.
We also had some high profiles judges helping us choose a worthy winner, including Chelsea & Lionesses star, Bethany England and Former Watford and Brentford striker, Marcus Gayle. The winning trick shot came from a Met Police Youth FC player which saw him knock a bottle off the crossbar with a ball from about 30 yards away!
The combined efforts of grassroots clubs and leagues continues to use football as a vehicle to generate awareness of and help tackle homophobia, transphobia and biphobia abuse.
While progress has been made, there is still much work to be done to encourage people to be active allies of LGBT+ people and to make the game truly inclusive. Research from Stonewall, the UK’s leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights charity, says more than two in five [43%] think public sporting events are not a welcoming space for LGBT+ people. Research also shows that COVID-19 is having a negative impact across LGBT+ communities with many experiencing isolation and poor mental health.
Sally Lockyer, CEO said: “Surrey FA is committed to making the game truly accessible to everyone and that means harnessing the power of football to help further educate and encourage allyship to support LGBT+ communities across our County.
"We are proud to support the Rainbow Laces campaign and each year we are seeing greater awareness and an increasing willingness from people to tackle all forms of discrimination. This is a significant next step to making the game inclusive for all.”
Anybody who wants to learn more about how they can support, or has a story they’d wish to share, is encouraged to get in touch. For further details and to access resources to promote your fixture, click here.