French football comes together to celebrate diversity25 January 2016

Frenchfootballwillcometogetherovertheweekendtoraiseawarenessofdiscriminationandhomophobiainfootballaheadofthe InternationalMonthAgainstHomophobiainFootball.

All matches of the round 23 of the French professional leagues 1 and 2, played between 29 January and 1 February, will be dedicated to the nation-wide campaign, which is calling on football enthusiasts to come together, embrace and celebrate diversity.

Initiated after the English Premier League rainbow laces campaign, the first edition of the initiative was organised during the Fare Football People weeks in 2014 in partnership with the amateur club Panamboyz United.

In its second year the campaign will continue to raise awareness of homophobia. A  publicity video featuring some of the biggest stars playing in France will be shown at matches over the weekend.

A French League (LFP) statement read: “The LFP, professional clubs, FondaCtion du Football and Panamboyz United come together once more to take a stand against all forms of discrimination and send across a message of openness and respect through the laces: as in society homophobia, racism and sexism do not have a place in football.”

The laces will be worn by players at all matches but can also be bought by the general public and two awareness-raising workshops on homophobia will take place on 26 and 27 January at the Olympique de Marseille training centre.

In addition, the French football charity FondaCtion du Football launched an online crowdfunding page to raise funds for social initiatives around equality and diversity for grassroots clubs in France.

The campaign is being organised ahead of the International Month Against Homophobia in Football, which will kick-off on 1 February and unite groups across Europe to take a stand against LGBT-phobia in sport.