On Saturday, 16th November, Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park played host to a charity football match that is calling for an end to LGBT+ phobia in football and to back sport as something for everyone. The event started with all players, managers, guests and many of the spectators signing a pledge banner committing to LGBT+ inclusivity being their goal. Thirty players took to the field, their shirts with a clear message on the back ‘LGBT+ Inclusivity, It’s a team sport’. With their children as mascots they walked through the LGBT+ flag arch which the young people of SAYiT were waving with pride. The cup match comes at the start of the national Rainbow Laces campaign run by Stonewall.     

Photo by Jason Ruffell


James Laley, Sheffield Rainbow Laces organiser said:

“We are all extremely proud of what was achieved and the support we got on the day. The feedback we have had has been overwhelmingly positive which encourages us for the future. Through this event, awareness and education was highlighted so that all players and spectators can ensure they help bring an end to LGBT+ phobia in society. The match itself was very competitive and tight with both teams really putting their all into the match. A 1-1 result seemed fair and of course the final result needed to be decided on penalties. Well done to Derbyshire for winning the cup. We can’t wait to build on the success of both events and return in 2020 with the Tournament & Cup.”

James Laley. Photo by Jason Ruffell

Steve Slack, CEO of SAYiT said: 

“We were hugely honoured to collaborate with Sheffield Rainbow Laces in organising this important football match, drawing attention to continued LGBT+ phobia in football and sport in general. We are grateful for all the hard work and commitment that James Laley from Sheffield Hallam University put into making this such an amazingly inspirational and successful event. I would also like to say a huge thank you to all the players who took part in the match and for drawing attention to this issue. Finally, a big thank you to everyone who turned up to support the event and to cheer on the footballers despite the rain and cold. It was a great afternoon.”

Steve Slack. Photo by Jason Ruffell
Photo by Jason Ruffell

James Fox, 3Squared Commercial Director & official shirt sponsor said:

“A brilliant day to help raise awareness of equality in Sport, 3Squared are delighted to have supported this event. Big thanks to James and the team for making it a huge success 3Squared are proud to have sponsored the event, as an inclusive employer it is vital, we educate and inform others on the importance of equality and put a stop to hate crimes. Let’s ALL work together to stamp out homophobia in sport.”

James Fox. Photo by Jason Ruffell

Quotes from players and spectators

‘It was a fantastic day, I really enjoyed myself’
‘Well done to everyone who played and attended the Sheffield Rainbow Laces match in
Sheffield today – awesome commitment to the #RainbowLaces message’
‘Well done again for Saturday, it was such a success. You should feel very proud!’
‘I feel so proud to have taken part today and to help towards promoting football for everyone’ 
‘This event was executed perfectly; I can’t think of what more could have been done. It was just fantastic’

Photo by Jason Ruffell
Photo by Jason Ruffell

Richard Brand, Derbyshire Captain & LGBT+ Ally, Call to action:

“What I would like everyone to do is when we leave today it’s now in the back of your mind that Homophobia isn’t acceptable. If you do see it, you be a voice and stamp it out and use today as a catalyst and not just the end product of what has been a great day, it’s about what happens after this that is important. Do that and it makes today worthwhile.” 

Richard Brand. Photo by Jason Ruffell


Facebook & Twitter: @SheffLaces
SAYiT: www.sayit.org.uk, info@sayit.org.uk

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