Maidenhead United and Holyport become County FA 'ally clubs' for Rainbow Laces campaign

Maidenhead United and Holyport have pledged to work more closely with the Berks & Bucks FA in an effort to make football more inclusive for LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning) people.

'Lace up and speak up' has been the key message of this year's annual Rainbow Laces campaign and the Magpies and Holyport have agreed to become 'BBFA ally clubs’ to try and make football a more welcoming environment for all.

Stonewall's national Rainbow Laces campaign began on Thursday, November 25 and will run through until Sunday, December 12, with this Wednesday (December 8) the designated 'Wear your Rainbow Laces Day'.

According to Stonewall, more than a million people have laced up in support of the campaign and two/thirds of fans feel they have a responsibility to stand in support of LGBTQ+ fans. However, the organisation has also conducted research which shows 43 per cent of LGBTQ+ people don't believe sporting events are a welcoming space for them (YouGov for Stonewall, 2017).

This year they are asking participants not only to wear the rainbow laces but also to speak up and start a conversation about inclusivity in football and sport in general.

Caversham United and MK City FC have also joined Maidenhead and Holyport in becoming County FA ally clubs to help spread the message, raise awareness, and proactively promote LGBTQ+ inclusion to make football everyone's game.

As ally clubs they'll dedicate a male and female first team fixture to the Rainbow Laces campaign and will show their support on the club website and social media channels.

Berks & Bucks FA, Communications Officer, Steph Clark, said; “As a County FA we are committed to driving inclusion across the sport and to ensuring that football provides safe and welcoming environments for all to enjoy.

“We believe that sport, and in particular, football, has a truly unique ability to connect people from all walks of life and change lives through shared passion. Football is everyone’s game, and no one should feel excluded from taking part because of who they are.

“We are proud to be working closely with our BBFA Ally Clubs during the Rainbow Laces campaign to help ensure that football in our region really is a game for all.”

Grace Scott, Maidenhead United’s media officer, added: “As club supporters you can join us in supporting the campaign through a few different ways; you can help us raise awareness through liking and sharing our social media posts, you can purchase Rainbow Laces from Stonewall UK, or you can start a conversation about why we wear Rainbow Laces which is also the theme of this year’s campaign, ‘Lace up and Speak up’.”

For more information, please visit stonewall.org.uk. Alternatively, to find out more about football inclusion work across the region, head to Berks-BucksFA.com

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