As part of the Rainbow Laces campaign between 22 November and 8 December 2019, London FA is releasing a series of features looking at the importance of inclusion within football.
Foots Cray Lions JFC have been one of the grassroots football clubs in London to have seen the development of the beautiful game throughout the past few decades. Originally set up in 1977, the club has had hundreds of players pass through their doors, some of which will have been members of the LGBT community.
Mike Hanaway, the Club Chairman and a coach, believes that the promotion of positive inclusion in relation to LGBT is crucial, especially to youngsters, giving those footballers an opportunity to flourish in a safe and accepting environment.
He said: “Clubs should not miss the opportunity to raise awareness. This is most powerfully done amongst peer groups.
“Support shows players that clubs are willing to create safe spaces and reinforces the fact that football is not exclusively heteronormative.”
Whilst Mike holds the opinion that it is important for players to understand the consequences of discrimination, he suggests that it is also vital that every person at a club is aware of the issues surrounding LGBT acceptance in football, and only then will football lose the stigma that it currently possesses.
“Clubs should continue to raise awareness amongst all of their stakeholder groups: players, supporters, coaches etc,” he said. “They should push to have education on this subject included in FA training modules for coaches. In the immediate term, they can look to ensure gender neutral terms are used in their communications and social media posts.”
One aspect that has been key to the change in approach relating to LGBT opportunities within the game has been the Stonewall Rainbow Laces campaign. Foots Cray Lions are of course backing the campaign, distributing laces to all of their teams and ensuring players are aware of the potential benefits of backing the campaign.
If you would like to learn more about inclusion in football and the 2019 Rainbow Laces campaign, please click here
All participants showing their support to the campaign are also encouraged to share content via London FA’s social media platforms, using the hashtag #RainbowLaces and mentioning @LondonFA on Twitter, @ldnfa on Instagram or @LDNFootballAssociation on Facebook.