The Crystal Palace Foundation academy teams turned out for matches on Wednesday with a change to their usual kit: they were all wearing rainbow laces.
It is part of an initiative with the charity, Stonewall, to show support for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people in sport.
The laces represent a statement that members of the CPFC Foundation College Academy teams accept everyone without exception, and that homophobic, biphobic and transphobic abuse is not tolerated, on or off the pitch.
Hundreds of schools and clubs have signed up to join in with a week of action to show that we can all play a part in making sport everyone’s game.
Robbie de Santos, Stonewall’s head of campaigns, said: “Unfortunately there are still people who think that anti-LGBT abuse is acceptable, particularly in sport. We are working with sports clubs at all levels to show that supporting diversity, in all its form, is the easiest way to build a more supportive and high-performing team and a strong, loyal following.
“The good news is that anyone involved in sport can be part of creating a more welcoming environment for LGBT people.”
Stonewall has developed a training programme for sports coaches so they can ensure they are making sport inclusive. The charity has also developed a sports toolkit for grassroots and community sport to help build awareness and understanding of the issues affecting LGBT people.
“We know sport has the power to unite communities across Britain,” Donald Forde, the head of CPFC Foundation, said. “As an organisation at the heart of our community, we are used to involving and supporting a wide variety of people with different needs. We believe that it doesn’t matter who you are, everyone should be able to play sport, so signing up to the Rainbow Laces Campaign was a natural step for us.
“It is a fun, easy and instant way to demonstrate that we are fully inclusive and that our members and supporters can be true to themselves when they are with us.”
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