Australian sporting teams will tie their boots with rainbow laces this weekend to help make the sporting environment more inclusive.
Teams and individual athletes from various sporting codes will wear the laces in a ‘Rainbow Round’.
Australian sportswear company SKINS and LGBTI program Pride in Sport are behind the campaign. They which began their campaign last year, inspired by a similar campaign in the UK.
The company distributed more than 200,000 pairs of rainbow laces for players and spectators to wear to the matches.
“What we’re aiming to do is to raise awareness about these issues, and show our support for inclusivity and diversity, so everyone who participates in a sporting event, either as a player, coach, administrator or fan can feel safe,” SKINS Executive Chairman Jaimie Fuller said.
“Sport belongs to everyone and is only at its best when everyone is welcome. There’s no place for LGBTI prejudice in sport – or society for that matter.”
This year’s Rainbow Round involves all AFL, A-League, NRL, Super Rugby and Super Netball matches taking place from Thursday to Sunday. It also includes matches at semi-pro, amateur, and community level.
Clubs committed to the campaign include the Brisbane Lions, North Queensland Cowboys, ACT Brumbies, Essendon Bombers, GWS Giants, NSW Swifts, Giants Netball, Penrith Panthers and Sydney FC.
Brisbane Lions CEO Greg Swann spoke of his club’s commitment to inclusion.
“We’re committed to ensuring our club has an environment that is welcoming and inclusive for all, as well as being role models in the broader community to help say #KnotUs to homophobia. It has no place in Australia in 2017.”
In a video message, Queensland rugby league legend Johnathan Thurston said homophobia hurts sport.
“LGBTI prejudice robs us of talent on the field, and hurts the fans off it,” he said.
Matildas striker Kyah Simon told the ABC on Saturday that it’s “crucial” that athletes were able to express their true selves.
— PrideinSportAU (@PrideinSportAU) April 5, 2017
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