English football club Altrincham is set to wear a kit based on the Pride flag.
The sixth-tier club has claimed that its switch from red and white stripes to rainbow colours will mark the first time a senior side has created a strip based exclusively on the LGBT+ rainbow.
Their players will don the special kit, which also prominently features the logo of pro-LGBT+ group Football v Homophobia, for a league game against Bradford (Park Avenue) on February 16.
Football club explains why it chose to wear Pride flag-inspired kit
Altrincham director Bill Waterson explained in a statement to PinkNews that the club had taken the step to mark Football v Homophobia‘s Month of Action, which tackles anti-LGBT discrimination in the game.
“We believe it will be the first time a senior football club has worn a kit solely modelled on the LGBT Pride flag.”
— Altrincham director Bill Waterson
He said the team from Greater Manchester was “extremely proud” of its pioneering status.
“We believe it will be the first time anywhere in the world that a senior football club has worn a kit solely modelled on the LGBT Pride flag, and Altrincham will, therefore, be creating a small moment of football history,” continued Waterson.
“To us, it is a big statement. Altrincham Football Club is committed to creating a welcoming environment for all who attend our games, and our support for Football v Homophobia is part of this commitment.”
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He thanked the semi-professional club’s shirt sponsors for agreeing to be replaced for the game, and confirmed that the Football Association and the league the club plays in had signed off on the initiative.
The shirts worn by players during the match will be sold at auction afterwards, with all profits going to queer youth organisation The Proud Trust.
The group is in the process of raising £2.25 million to rebuild its LGBT+ centre—the only purpose-built LGBT+ centre in the UK.
Earlier this week, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority granted £450,000 to the cause.
Replica versions of the Pride flag-inspired kit will be sold at the game and on the club’s website.
Football often uses the Pride flag to push for LGBT+ acceptance
Stonewall’s annual Rainbow Laces campaign pushes for equality within English football, using the Pride flag to increase visibility.
Last year, all 72 clubs in the English Football League used rainbow substitution boards and corner flags in a show of support for LGBT+ inclusivity.
And, as is common now, players wore rainbow laces and each team’s captain put on a rainbow armband during their chosen Pride-themed game.
Anti-LGBT Twitter users were angered by the move, with one of these people calling it “PC gone mad.”