Rainbow laces worn against homophobia across FA matches
Players across the Football Association wore rainbow laces in matches today in support of efforts against homophobia in football.
But several top clubs say they can’t support the project because they weren’t adequately consulted.
Premier League clubs, including Manchester United, Tottenham and Norwich, have refused to back the rainbow laces project because they believe it amounts to an advertising campaign for bookmaker Paddy Power.
Players from Norwich and Newcastle United wore the rainbow laces, and Newcastle manager Alan Pardew also wore them. BT Sport pundit David James laced his boots with the rainbow laces from the gay rights charity.
A statement from Norwich said: “We will not be asking our players to wear the Rainbow Laces this Saturday but we are committed to combatting homophobia and all other forms of discrimination in the game.
“We firmly believe football is an inclusive game which everyone should be able to enjoy watching – and playing.
“Norwich City Football Club is proud to have included our great former striker Justin Fashanu in our Hall of Fame and has worked with the Justin Campaign and Norwich Pride on activities at the Club to celebrate his life, with his niece Amal Fashanu.
“We are one of 29 professional clubs to have signed up to the Government’s Charter Against Homophobia and Transphobia and welcome continued efforts to tackle homophobia on and off the pitch.
“We’ve had positive discussions with both Stonewall and Norwich Pride this week and invited them to meet with us to talk about our on-going work in this important area.”
Despite Everton being the only team to ensure that all players wore the laces, many from across the league wore them, however many were against it because of Paddy Power’s involvement.
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Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker tweeted his support for the campaign and requested a pair of laces yesterday, intending to wear them on Match of the Day today.
“Our discomfort is with the reliance on sexualised innuendo and stereotypes about gay men and anal sex, as exemplified by the tag line ‘Right Behind Gay Players,” FvH said.
The Gay Football Supporters’ Network (GFSN) has praised Paddy Power for teaming up with Stonewall – although some question the merit of working with the controversial bookmaker.