London Falcons

Rainbow Laces club focus - London Falcons

We caught up with members of London Falcons to find out how they've been supporting the Rainbow Laces initiative.

London Falcons FC is a competitive and inclusive football team aimed at – but not exclusively limited to – gay and bisexual men in London. Based in South West London, the club has been running for over fourteen years and in that time we have had over 400 different LGBT men come along to our training sessions or play for one of our league teams.

We’re very proud that today we have a very healthy mix of gay, bisexual and heterosexual players who come together to deliver our message of football being inclusive for everyone.

We are extremely proud of our achievements and the hard work of a lot of people connected with the club has led to considerable on-field success. In 2019, we claimed our first international medal with our 2nd place finish at the Eurogames, where inclusive football teams from across the continent met in Rome, helping to raise the profile and stature of the club within the LGBT sports community. Sadly, COVID-19 stopped us going for gold in Düsseldorf or Copenhagen in 2020 and 2021, but we bagged a bronze medal in Nijmegen 2022.

Domestically, having won the London Unity League, aimed solely at inclusive football teams, on four occasions, in the 2018/19 season we moved into the 120-year-old Wimbledon and District Football League to compete in a mainstream footballing league for the first time. Our first season was a hugely successful one, where we took our message of diversity and inclusion across South West London, securing a fourth-place finish without any instances of homophobia from our opposition teams. In just our second season at this level, we achieved promotion into the third division of the league structure. Having secured safety again this season, this means that we will once again compete in the Wimbledon and District League One in the upcoming 2022/23 season.

London Falcons

Will Oster, Striker and Club Chairman:

“Rainbow Laces continues to serve a vital role in raising awareness of the need for greater inclusion in football for LGBTQ+ people. Whilst we have seen some positive steps, such as the news regarding Jake Daniels and Josh Carvalho, which shows that the game is becoming a more supportive place for some professional players, but a simple click below the line on any Rainbow Laces or LGBTQ+ related post you see on social media reminds you of just how much prejudice LGBTQ+ sportspeople continue to face.

“As some who fell out of love with the game due to homophobia within football, having a club like London Falcons where players are accepted and allowed to enjoy competitive football in a safe setting has been life-changing. There are so many clubs out there just like us, so I highly encourage anyone who is looking for something similar to check them out!"

Joe Eloi, Defender and Club Treasurer:

“As someone who grew up without LGBTQ+ role models with my role models being footballers, rainbow laces helps to create that representation.

“The London Falcons has created a space where I have been able to become comfortable with my sexuality. It’s provided me with LGBTQ+ friends and a community where I can be myself.”

Matthew Hall, Secretary and player:

"I joined London Falcons and became its chairman before becoming its secretary; a role I have held for the last five years. During my time as part of the community I have watched as LGBT+ have become more accepted throughout society and have been proud to see football follow suit, but also intensely frustrated by the manner in which society has moved toward acceptance much more quickly.

"This community and my club are important parts of the movement to ensuring that LGBT+ people are accepted in football in this country and around the world."