Players Will Be Urged To Wear Rainbow Laces To Show Support Against Homophobia

Footballers will be asked to participate in new campaign to battle homophobia in sport.Footballers in England and Scotland have been asked to support a new campaign that hopes to rid homophobia from the game by wearing rainbow laces on their boots, BBC News reports.

The laces have been sent to all 92 Premier League and Football League clubs in England and all 42 in Scotland by gay rights organisation Stonewall.

The Right Behind Gay Footballers campaign wants players to wear the laces in games on 21 and 22 September and its focus is on changing negative attitudes towards gay athletes rather than urging players to come out.

Stonewall deputy chief executive Laura Doughty said: “It’s time for football clubs and players to step up and make a visible stand against homophobia in our national game.

“By wearing rainbow laces, players will send a message of support to gay players and can begin to drag football into the 21st Century.”

In February this year the F.A issued a toolkit to clubs in order to help them combat homophobia in the game. However, there remain just 29 out of the 92 professional club’s that remain committed to the cause.

QPR midfielder Joey Barton recently vocalised his support in favour of the movement by using social media networking site Twitter to say; “Join the rainbow laces movement. Sexuality in sport should not be an issue in the 21st century.”

There are currently no known openly gay professional footballers in England or Scotland, though former Leeds and United States winger Robbie Rogers announced he was gay earlier this year but only after retiring for a brief period, claiming he could not have continued his career because of the “pack mentality” that affects the way footballers behave.

He later reversed his decision to quit the game and signed for LA Galaxy.

Before Rodgers came out there had been only two known openly gay players. In 1990, former Nottingham Forest striker Justin Fashanu became the first professional footballer in Britain to come out. He took his own life eight years later, aged 37.

And in 2011, Anton Hysen, the son of former Liverpool defender Glenn Hysen, came out in a Swedish football magazine.