Chelsea continues support for Rainbow Laces

Chelsea Football Club continues to support Stonewall’s annual Rainbow Laces campaign with activity planned at both Sunday’s match against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge and Wednesday’s encounter with Watford at Vicarage Road Stadium.

Chelsea FC continues our ongoing commitment to ensure our club is a safe and welcoming place for LGBTQ+ people, their friends and families, promoting an inclusive sporting community and making it clear that football is for everyone. The Rainbow Laces campaign sends a strong message of zero tolerance to homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) behaviour, whether on the pitch, in the stands or on social media.

At Sunday’s match against United, the club will be showing our support through a series of matchday activities with a rainbow-themed captain’s armband, flags, a Pride of Chelsea centre-circle featuring in the middle of the pitch pre-match and a Rainbow Laces awareness video which will be played on the big screen before kick-off.

This forms part of the Premier League’s celebrations between 27 November and 2 December with players up and down the country donning their Rainbow Laces, a symbol of inclusion across sports and fitness. Both the FA and the club will be activating at the Women’s Vitality FA Cup Final next Sunday at Wembley as well as on the weekend of 11 and 12 December.

This year’s campaign encourages people to speak up on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community and highlights the importance of allyship, and Chelsea helped facilitate the conversation by recently hosting a seminar titled ‘From Allyship to Action’ at Stamford Bridge in collaboration with the Premier League, the Football Association and London clubs. Members of LGBTQ+ fan groups, including our own Chelsea Pride, were also present alongside organisations such as Kick It Out and Stonewall FC.

Hosted by Clare Balding, the session aimed to improve dialogue and discuss a wide range of questions including how to support LGBTQ+ fan groups better and understand what is being done to combat homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate across football.

Chelsea Pride also celebrate their fifth birthday this week. The club is proud to work side by side with Chelsea Pride and celebrate all of their achievements of the past five years.

Children across our Chelsea Foundation educational programmes have also been supporting the campaign. Workshop sessions have been delivered throughout eight secondary schools through the Premier League Inspires group with the children tasked to make their own creative Rainbow Laces inspired posters with two Premier League Kicks teams taking part in a match with Rainbow Laces worn. We have also collaborated with Watford FC ahead of next week’s match to deliver an educational session to Premier League’s Primary Stars pupils from each club to understand what the Rainbow Laces represent.

Next week we are getting together with Watford once more working with their LGBTQ+ fan group, Proud Hornets, and Chelsea Pride to discuss how football can become more inclusive and welcoming, and how we can take practical steps to tackle HBT at games. Look out for that content across Chelsea and Watford channels in the coming week.

Ahead of this weekend's match, Tomas Tuchel said: ‘We fully support the Rainbow Laces campaign and what it represents. It is an opportunity for everyone in football to send an important message, which is that football is an inclusive sport that is open to everybody.’

Emma Hayes also commented on the activity: ‘Rainbow Laces will always be important to our club and this year is extra special as we celebrate five years of Chelsea Pride.

‘Their tireless campaigning to kick out homophobic, biphobic and transphobic abuse in football is incredible and does not go unnoticed and we look forward to continuing to support them for many years to come, promoting a game where everyone is welcome.’

Anyone who witnesses or experiences homophobic, biphobic or transphobic behaviour, or any other form of discrimination at a match should report it to a steward or send a text message to 07894 93 77 93 with the stand, row, seat number and description of the offender and incident. Alternatively, you can phone 020 7386 3355 and all information will be treated in the strictest confidence. If you witness discriminatory online abuse related to Chelsea FC, staff, players or supporters, we ask that you also report these to the club via the web form at the following address: chelseafc.com/reportabuse

Chelsea FC is proud to be a diverse club welcoming staff, players, fans and families from all backgrounds and communities around the world. Tackling discrimination in all its forms, including anti-LGBT+ discrimination, is an important part of our work. Chelsea has achieved the Advanced Level of the Premier League’s Equality Standard, the highest level a club can receive, demonstrating a commitment to embedding equality and diversity across all areas of the business, including the work of our charity, the Chelsea Foundation.

Click on Rainbow Laces to find our more about the campaign, including how to get your own rainbow laces, or you can get involved in the campaign this weekend using #RainbowLaces on social media.

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