Arsenal Football Club is reinforcing its commitment to kick homophobia out of football by supporting the Rainbow Laces campaign.
The initiative sees professional players lacing their boots with rainbow colours on the weekend of September 13 and 14 to show their support to end homophobia in football. In association with the club’s official UK and Ireland betting partner, Paddy Power and Stonewall, the biggest charity in Europe campaigning for lesbian, gay and bisexual equality, the club features in a television advert to make its contribution to changing attitudes around the game.
Club captain Mikel Arteta features in the 30-second advert ‘The Changing Room’ alongside Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott to kick off the campaign this week. Arsenal’s participation in the campaign falls under the Arsenal for Everyone initiative which strives to ensure everyone connected to Arsenal - regardless of race, religion, sex, age, sexuality or disability - feels an equal sense of belonging to the club. Arteta said: "We’re very happy to support the campaign and, while the advert is a light-hearted look at the things we can’t change, discrimination in football cannot be tolerated and we need to work together to change this."
Stewart Selby, co-ordinator and founder of the GayGooners said: "Arsenal’s participation in the advert and the campaign means so much to Arsenal’s LGBT fans and the community. The campaign sends the message that attitudes should and can change. It’s about changing the language and creating an environment where LGBT players and supporters should feel comfortable being themselves and being out in the game." Rainbow laces will be distributed to professional players across the UK to lace up on the weekend of September 13 and 14. Arsenal take on Manchester City on Saturday, September 13 at Emirates Stadium and Arsenal’s club shops will give away a pair of laces with every purchase made from Monday, September 8, subject to availability. Supporters are encouraged to show their support via social media using the official campaign hashtag #rainbowlaces. Arsenal were the first club to be awarded Kick It Out’s Advanced Level of the Equality Standard in 2011 for its inclusivity and diversity practices. In 2013 a group of the club’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) supporters formed the GayGooners who, among other initiatives, have represented Arsenal at London Pride in 2013 and 2014.
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