Spanish LGBT network calls on clubs and players to join fight against homophobia09 February 2015

AsgroupsacrossEuropecelebratein February theLGBThistorymonthandcommittofighthomophobiainfootball,the SpanishLGBTnetwork FELGTBlaunchedanewcampaigncallingonclubs,playersandfanstohelpaddresstheprobleminSpain.

The campaign is divided into two main actions, the first, on 19 February, is looking to establish the day as a dedicated day to combat LGBT-phobia in sport and the second, between 22-23 February, is calling on clubs and players of the Spanish first and second divisions to support the campaign through the use of rainbow laces.

Rubén López, responsible for the sports department of FELGTB, said: “Two years ago, Paco Jémez, manager of Rayo Vallecano, said that football is not prepared to welcome a gay player. Obviously, you cannot ask a young player not to come out or to leave football because of his sexual orientation, it is the other way around, it is that idea that has to change and that is what we have been working on.

“Players can use something as simple as rainbow laces to show that they support diversity, and slowly, through these actions, we will start to see a positive change in stadiums.”

As the most popular sport in Spain, FELGTB believes it can help further freedom and equality, as well as other values including respect and inclusion. Through the hash tag #LaLigaArcoIris the LGBT network is also looking to engage fans and the general public in challenging homophobic abuse through social media, while promoting a debate around the topic.

The ultimate goal of the campaign is to engage sporting organisations in promoting an environment free of violence and discrimination against LGBT people across stadiums, changing rooms and terraces.