Paddy Power right behind Stonewall

Paddy Power right behind Stonewall


Paddy Power has teamed up with Stonewall UK, the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity, to send rainbow laces to every footballer across all 134 professional clubs in the UK.

They will be a symbol of support for gay players and fans, and Stonewall hope to “drag football into the 21st century”. The laces will be worn on the weekend 21-22 September in support of gay footballers.

Citing startling statistics on homophobia within the sport, and the fact that there are no openly gay footballers in the English or Scottish leagues, Stonewall says: “Laces might not end homophobia, but it’s not a bad place to start.”

In 2009 70% of fans who had attended a match had heard or witnessed homophobia on the terraces. Three quarters of fans thought that there were gay championship footballers and two thirds would be comfortable with an openly gay player on their team. According to Stonewall, the chances of there being no gay players in the 5000 professionals across the leagues is 1 in 22,947,321,563,647,480, 000, 000, 000 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000 (that’s a quadragintillion).

Despite this, half of football fans think that clubs are not doing enough to tackle anti gay abuse.

Starting today, fans can show support and spread the word by using the #RBGF (Right Behind Gay Footballers) tag on social media. In support of the campaign, and in the run up to the 21-22, daily advertising and editorials will run across billboards, social media and traditional media.

In a sport with such a clear problem with homophobia, this simple but striking gesture could make a huge difference. And with two fifths of gay, bisexual and lesbian fans saying they would be more likely to buy tickets and merchandise if football was more gay-friendly, this is a win-win move for players and clubs. They show support for an important cause, and open the sport up to potential new fans. As it stands, three fifths of gay, lesbian and bisexual fans think that football is anti-gay.



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