Premier League and Manchester United join 'Rainbow Laces' campaign

The Premier League and Manchester United are among a second wave of brands backing LGBT charity Stonewall's "Rainbow laces" campaign.

O2, Sky Sports, Visa, and marketing agency Pitch have also joined the roster.

The news follows Aon, Adidas and Aviva backing the relaunched campaign in September. The brands have formed a coalition called TeamPride.

The coalition will show their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people this week. The Premier League will open every fixture this weekend with a giant Rainbow Laces flag and display campaign messaging.

Football teams around the country will also sport rainbow-coloured laces in their boots to support the campaign, while clubs will organise meetings for LGBT fan groups.

Pitch has produced a campaign video starring British canoeing champion Matt Lister, AFC Bournemouth photographer Sophie Cook and former Team GB women’s football captain Casey Stoney, plus others who identify as LGBT.

The idea behind the campaign is to create a more welcoming environment in sport for LGBT people. According to September research from Stonewall and ICM, 72% of football fans have heard homophobic abuse at a match.

The original campaign was launched in 2013 by Stonewall and Paddy Power. The gambling brand has not been involved since 2014.

Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore said the LGBT community was a "vital" part of sport.

"The Premier League is all about exciting, passionate and unpredictable football that is for everyone, everywhere," he said. "The Rainbow Laces campaign complements the work clubs are doing to promote inclusion and diversity in their stadiums, and across all levels of the sport."

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