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Countdown to Rainbow Laces part 2

  • 22/11/19
  • By Dan Whelan
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Cheshire League leading the way for Cheshire FA

‘What we try to do is uplift and maximise the voices that are good and try to drown out some of the negative stories that will inevitably come out,’ he added.
It is also important to state that the aim of the campaign is not to encourage an openly gay footballer to come out, something there has been a clamour for over the last few years, but rather to promote the idea that football, and sport in general, should be a place where everybody feels safe and comfortable.
‘I can fully see a time when we have an openly gay player and not just in football but in other sports but it can be unhelpful to focus on the narrative around whether a player is going to come out.
‘We always say that if there was a player to come out tomorrow it wouldn’t necessarily solve the issue. This culture still exists. Some LGBT community still don’t feel safe going to games, some LGBT people still don’t think sports are for them and that’s a culture issue and that takes time,’ he said.
Whether a footballer decided to come out will depend on many factors both personal and external and the role we, as fans, players and managers, can play is doing what is right to make sport an accommodating place for all.
‘I think the more we can do to empower people to create those inclusive environments and supporting organisations to have those policies, processes and procedures in place to actually protect LGBT people that’s when you’re going to see the real change.
‘But like I say it is not going to be solved tomorrow if a Premier League player comes out. It will be something to celebrate but it will bring up a set of new challenges,’ he explained.
The campaign lasts for two weeks, during which time a great deal of positive work will be done in order to boost the visibility of the LGBT community but Rob recognises the importance of continuing to promote the message long after the campaign is over.
‘I think for us it has been a bit of a quiet build up aside from the stuff we’ve done on social media. When pictures of the game start spreading on Facebook and Twitter during or after the game you will get a lot more traction.

‘It can really take off from Saturday. It doesn’t stop. It’s not so much about the build-up but about the knock on. Yes it’s all about Saturday being the activation day and you’ll see it on Match of the Day and on Sky but also it’s about the continuation.
‘I wear rainbow laces in my boots all year round. It’s not just a two-week programme it’s a year round thing,’ he said.