The Blues are proud to support the Rainbow Laces campaign once more as we encourage everyone to play their part in making sport everybody’s game.
We will be demonstrating our ongoing support across the club for LGBTQI+ inclusion by celebrating Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign from Friday 21 October through to 31 October with a host of activity. That will include our two flagship matches, with the men first up against Manchester United on Saturday at Stamford Bridge, and the Women’s team hosting Aston Villa at Kingsmeadow on Sunday 30 October.
Throughout the season we are committed to advocating, supporting and motivating allyship through ensuring LGBTQI+ rights are a fundamental part of our internal and external campaigns, policies and initiatives.
We want to create a club and communities that are open and welcoming to all.
This year we are educating, celebrating, communicating and motivating allyship and action for our players, employees, fans and society.
To educate, we have partnered with Football v Homophobia to conduct workshops for our Academy and employees across the club to learn more about the community and what role we have to play in football. As part of our No To Hate campaign, we have also commissioned a forward-thinking educational video which challenges the stereotypes of a club fan and encourages all who wear our badge to have pride.
To celebrate, our flags on Fulham Road and Jack Goodchild Way next to Stamford Bridge and Kingsmeadow respectively, are being updated to our newly commissioned rainbow lion, creating visible acts of advocacy for those in the community around us and for those attending our Rainbow Laces matches.
At Stamford Bridge, our Shed End wall is now adorned with a rainbow running its length. This will remain all season to represent our commitment to the community. Our shirt cut-outs at the Britannia Entrance have also been transformed with the rainbow colours. The entrance to Kingsmeadow will also be adorned with a rainbow. We have increased our Pride merchandise range in store and online to include tote bags, mugs and water bottles.
To motivate, a number of our colleagues and players will be wearing rainbow laces to show their support, and they will also be featuring in our campaign by spreading positive messaging to our fans.
The club are also collaborating with illustrator Emma Hayden, whose work revolves around the theme of queer visibility, relationships and gender diversity. Her digital portraits highlight the love shared throughout the LGBTQI+ community.
Hayden has produced bespoke artwork for the club to help spread the message that there is a pride in all those who wear our badge. The artwork depicts some of our key players, such as Reece James, Wesley Fofana, Pernille Harder and Magdalena Eriksson, as well as a selection of our fans, presenting them all as equals, depicting a strong symbol of unity.
Emma Hayden commented on the initiative: ‘As a queer, female artist, I am very happy to be creating a piece of work for such an important institution that promotes such a vital message that upholds the values of the Chelsea Football Club.
‘Even though there have been changes to attitudes over the past few years, it is so important to keep the conversations going about anti-discrimination, LGBTQI+ people and activism for equality for all within the sports community, particularly for POC and trans members.’
To communicate, our digital platforms will carry the rainbow badge once more during the campaign period, with content planned throughout to continue to showcase the campaign including a special-edition matchday programme.
Today we are hosting our ‘Say Yes To Rainbow Laces and No To Hate’ panel event at Stamford Bridge, giving us and our panellists the opportunity to discuss and consider how we empower the LGBTQI+ community, the role we must play in changing derogatory stereotypes, and what organisations are doing and should be doing. This will be available to watch on our YouTube channel with highlights shown on our matchday screens.
Lauren Du Plooy Flowers, equality, diversity and inclusion manager for Chelsea commented on the campaign: ‘Rainbow Laces is a really important date in the calendar that enables us to come together as a football community to lace up and speak up around LGBTQI+ inclusion in sport.
‘At Chelsea we are committed season long internally and externally to creating a club that welcomes all and enables everyone to have pride in wearing our badge.’
Play your part in learning more about Rainbow Laces and supporting us in our commitment to LGBTQI+ rights at Chelsea.