TeamPride shows how to be active allies in Stonewall's Rainbow Laces campaign
Chwaraewch Ran

TeamPride shows how to be active allies in Stonewall's Rainbow Laces campaign

  • Coalition of companies reaffirm support for Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign

  • Unique corporate and charity partnership key to ‘Campaign of the Year’ win

  • Thousands of fans expected to lace up in support for 2018 campaign

Thousands of fans and athletes are lacing up this month for LGBT equality in sport as part of Stonewall’s award-winning Rainbow Laces campaign.

The campaign is made possible by the TeamPride coalition, a group of corporates and organisations committed to making sport everyone’s game.

The full list of members is adidas, Aon, Asos, Aviva, Barclays, eBay, the Premier League, Manchester United, Sky Sports and Visa.

Since its launch in 2013, Rainbow Laces has become a fixture in the sports calendar.

It has proved so popular that this year the campaign period has been extended to three weeks, kicking off on Saturday 17 November and ending on Friday 7 December, to enable more sports to take part.

Rainbow Laces has been adopted by everyone from darts to wheelchair rugby and cricket and this year Stonewall and TeamPride were awarded Campaign of the Year at the BT Sport Industry Awards, with judges citing the unique partnership as a deciding factor.

Midway through this year’s campaign, on Wednesday 28 November, thousands of fans are expected to take part in a mass lace up in a nationwide show of support for LGBT people in sport.

Thousands of laces have been sent to businesses and schools in preparation for ‘Rainbow Laces Day’. Already more than 75, 313 Rainbow Laces have been sold with the aim of reaching 100,000.

For this year’s campaign Stonewall is challenging fans and athletes to be ‘active allies’ and to play their part in ensuring LGBT people feel included in sport.

The charity has released a set of top tips on what people can do to promote LGBT equality, including how to identify abusive language, how to effectively challenge abuse and how to report, both on and off the pitch.

Working alongside Stonewall, TeamPride brings together organisations from diverse sectors to find ways of ensuring lesbian, gay, bi and trans people feel included and welcome in UK sports. ASOS, the online fashion and cosmetic retailer, are the latest organisation to join.

Kirsty Clarke, Stonewall’s Director of Sport, said: ‘It’s great to see so many of the UK sports associations banding together in the biggest show of support for LGBT people in sport.

TeamPride has played a large role in securing this level of support and making the campaign the success that it is.

‘Together we’ve placed Rainbow Laces firmly in the sporting calendar, creating a campaign that inspires sports bodies and organisations across the UK and internationally.

‘We’ve been able to further our reach through our innovative partnership work, creating a collaborative funding model that allows the campaign to be adopted by all sports, regardless of sponsorship deals.

‘We would not be where we are today without the support, insight and determination of the amazing team of people who make up TeamPride.’

Jim Herbert, Chief Development Officer at Aon Risk Solutions EMEA, said: ‘Aon is very proud to be a part of TeamPride and I firmly believe this consortium holds an enormous ability to influence the sports industry. There is still much more we need to do before all LGBT people can live freely as their authentic selves. Sport unites us all and TeamPride and Stonewall are committed to making sport everyone’s game by raising awareness of LGBT equality this November.’

Louise McCabe, Director of Corporate Responsibility at ASOS, said: ‘We’re supporting TeamPride and the Rainbow Laces campaign because everyone should have the confidence to be whoever they want to be and participating in sport should be no exception.’

Jonny Briggs, Head of Talent Acquisition and Inclusion at Aviva, said: ‘Aviva is proud to once again fully support this year’s Rainbow Laces campaign. We believe it is vital in sport, as it is in business, that diversity and inclusivity is supported and celebrated. We stand side by side with Stonewall and Norwich City to help make sport everyone’s game.’

Mark McLane, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Barclays, said: ‘The value of sport is that it can and should provide an opportunity for everyone to participate. However, the LGBT community still faces barriers to being included.  Stonewall’s Team Pride and the Rainbow Laces campaign is focused on improving LGBT equality in sport and Barclays is proud to be a supporter of this ambition.’

Keith Metcalfe, Head of Sports and Health Trading at eBay, said: ‘At eBay we’re proud to celebrate diversity and to partner with the rest of TeamPride to support LGBT inclusion within all sports. We look forward to again being the official marketplace for people to buy Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces as well as hosting a range of amazing auctions to raise money for a great cause.’

Emma Slatter, Chief Officer, Legal and Regulatory at Visa, said: ‘We are proud to be part of TeamPride and the Rainbow Laces campaign. At Visa our mission is to create an environment in which individual differences, experiences and capabilities are valued and contribute to our business success.’