Chesterfield are proud to be supporting the Rainbow Laces campaign on Saturday to help raise awareness of issues faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) players and fans in sport.
This weekend’s round of fixtures has been selected as the charity’s annual awareness week, with football clubs up and down the country uniting in support of the campaign.
The laces have been introduced in a bid to tackle homophobic, transphobic and biphobic attitudes and help make sport more accessible.
Spireites players will be wearing the laces to help raise awareness in this weekend’s game against Bristol Rovers, with the initiative is now in its fourth year after being launched in 2013.
Chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) and Chesterfield player/coach Ritchie Humphreys is proud that the Spireites are backing the campaign.
Humphreys himself wore the laces when the campaign was first introduced in 2013 and is glad the PFA have continued their support.
He said: “The PFA back lots of campaigns that people are aware of around the country and football can play a big part in spreading that message and raising awareness.
“The Rainbow Laces campaign is something different where we can raise awareness of homophobia and show our support for anybody suffering from homophobic abuse in football, both in and around the ground.
“We all have a role to play in our society to tackle these issues and I think the players will wear them. I wore them three years ago when the campaign was first run and it’s a good campaign because it’s an issue that we want to play our part in raising awareness of and football can be a vehicle to do that.”
In the last five years, 72% of football fans have heard anti-LGBT comments at a football match while one in five 18 to 24-year-olds said they would be embarrassed if their favourite player came out.
Young people are also twice as likely to say that anti-LGBT language is harmless if it is only meant as ‘banter'.
The charity wants to spread the message that players and fans do accept LGBT fans and team-mates and assure them that they are welcome in sport.