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Manchester United and Arsenal lace up for LGBT equality

  • Teams exchange super-sized Rainbow Laces at Old Trafford

  • Sportspeople and fans encouraged to lace up and change sport

  • Seven in 10 fans have heard homophobic abuse on the terraces.

Manchester United and Arsenal will lace up to change sport, as part of Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign.

At their upcoming clash at Old Trafford on Sunday 28 February, the team captains will exchange a pair of super-sized Rainbow Laces to show their support to the Stonewall campaign to promote equality for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people in sport. Both teams will also sign the giant laces, with fans being given the opportunity to win a signed lace by following the hashtag #RainbowLaces on Twitter.

Research from Stonewall, the lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality charity, shows that homophobia, biphobia and transphobia continue to be rife in many sports. In football alone seven in 10 fans have heard homophobic abuse on the terraces. Stonewall is urging fans to challenge this behaviour where they see and hear it, and explain why discrimination has no place in sport.  

Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive of Stonewall, said: ‘Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia have no place in sport, but unfortunately many LGBT people continue to be affected by abuse and discrimination on a daily basis.  It’s time for that to change, and it’s time that all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people are accepted without exception on playing fields, terraces and in stadiums across the world.

'We’re thrilled that Manchester United and Arsenal have pledged their support to the Rainbow Laces campaign. By doing so, they are stepping up as allies to LGBT people and showing their commitment to making their clubs inclusive and supportive for LGBT players, supporters and members of staff.   We hope that other clubs and sports will follow their lead and lace up to change sport.’

Richard Arnold, Manchester United’s Group Managing Director, said: ‘Manchester United is proud to be playing a central part in support of Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign. The club supports a number of inclusion groups and initiatives to help educate society on equality and this long-standing commitment is something that we believe plays a huge part in sport, which unites so many people from different backgrounds.’

Arsène Wenger, Arsenal Manager, said: ‘We are proud to be supporting the Rainbow Laces campaign again this year, because discrimination has no part to play in our game at all. Football is about people coming together for a common purpose, to share emotions and experiences. It should not be important who you are or where you are from.’

Fans will be able to show their support to the campaign and buy Rainbow Laces in the Club shop on the day of the match.