At the end of last year, the Premier League partnered with Stonewall in their Rainbow Laces Campaign. The idea was that players would wear rainbow-coloured laces in their boots to highlight football’s desire to extend inclusivity to members of the LGBTI community. The rainbow colours were also present on advertising boards and highlighted by television broadcasters. Team captains wore rainbow armbands during the games played between 24 November – 3 December 2017.
Why this is important:
The Premier League is perhaps the most recognised sports competition in the world. There are currently no openly gay players active in the Premier League. Indeed, the only high-profile player to have come out in the league’s 26-year history was Justin Fashanu, who came out in the early 1990s. He suffered abuse from fans, and no-end of insensitive stories from the media. Fashanu committed suicide in 1998.
Why no openly gay players?
It is a given that there are gay players in the Premier League. Law of averages will dictate that there must be dozens from the 500 players listed on each team’s 25-man squads for the 2017/18 Premier League season. The reasons that they have not come out are manifold, including the ‘lad culture’ of the changing rooms, the sensationalism from the press and the vitriol that comes from small, but vocal, groups of fans on the terraces.
Was the Campaign a Success?
It certainly raised awareness and got some fans talking. The Premier League will continue to partner with Stonewall for the next three years, so it is not just a one-off event. Hopefully, the next Rainbow Laces week will be even more high profile.
Is the Premier League doing enough?
The short answer is no. When it comes to issues like racism and homophobia, the Premier League is big on talk and small on action. Homophobic chanting by fans still largely goes unpunished by clubs. Glossy campaigns are one thing, but until the lifetime-bans are handed out by clubs for this behaviour the terraces will not be seen as LBGTI friendly.
Are there any bright spots?
Yes. The media spotlight has really homed in on the issue and it feels like just a matter of time before we see the first Premier League player come out. Believe it or not, the vast majority of football fans will be incredibly supportive of such of a move – there will be no repeat of the treatment of Justin Fashanu. Once that occurs, others will follow, and it will cease to be a ‘thing’.
What’s happening in the Premier League?
Apart from the slow-burning fight for inclusivity, the Premier League is in rude health. It arguably features the biggest pool of the world’s best players and certainly several of the top club teams on the planet. Manchester City have been blowing away the opposition this season, leading the betting odds at 1/100 to win the league.
Rivals Manchester United can be found at 80/1 and Chelsea are the second-favourites at 66/1 (Bet365). If you want to find out more and get in on the action, you can bet on the Premier league with the best free bets from Freebets.co.uk. There are so many different betting option available for the popular Premier League that you can probably find a bet regarding when will the next joint LGBT – Premier League campaign go public.
You can literally bet on anything football related, if you have enough conviction you will win of course.
Want to get into football?
There are plenty of organisations who want to bridge the gap between football and the LGBT Community. The Gay Football Supporters’ Network campaign against homophobia in football, organise events and run the world’s only national LGBT football league.