West Bromwich Albion will once again proudly support the Rainbow Laces campaign when Leicester City visit The Hawthorns this Saturday (ko 12:30pm).
Set up by Stonewall, the movement - and its annual matchday - aims to champion LGBTQ+ inclusion in sport.
The club has planned plenty of initiatives throughout the day in partnership with their dedicated, award-winning supporters’ group Proud Baggies.
Albion’s players will wear special warm-up T-shirts before the game, and the captain will lead the team out sporting a specifically designed rainbow armband.
Boilerman, Ideal Heating’s mascot, is also set to join in, showcasing vibrant rainbow colours and adding an extra touch of support for the cause. Additionally, the iconic Proud Baggies flag will unfurl its vibrant colours outside the stadium, a symbol of unity and solidarity.
There will be messages championing inclusivity and acceptance prominently displayed throughout the stadium, too, underscoring the club's commitment to fostering an environment of respect and equality.
And this year, the day will also serve as a platform to introduce Proud Baggies FC, an LGBTQ+ inclusive competitive team developed in collaboration with the football club, Sandwell Council and The Albion Foundation.
Proud Baggies FC builds on the group’s popular Friday Night Fun Football sessions and symbolises more than a team; it represents a profound stride toward eradicating barriers.
The initiative extends an open invitation to all individuals, LGBTQ+ and allies, passionate about competitive football, irrespective of gender, age, or skill level, to join training sessions commencing shortly at the Albion Academy on Monday evenings.
The vision for the team extends beyond training sessions. Plans are underway for the team to participate in tournaments this year and aim for inclusion in a league by the 2024/2025 season.
The aspiration is to foster an atmosphere where inclusivity is not just spoken about but actively embraced within the realms of the sport. Anyone interested in joining can get in touch via email@example.com.
The Rainbow Laces campaign, initiated in 2013, has galvanized millions worldwide in support of LGBTQ+ inclusion in sports. For deeper insights into Stonewall's campaign, visit their dedicated Campaign Page.
At The Hawthorns, cultivating an inclusive environment is a collective responsibility. The club encourages supporters to report any instances of discrimination to the nearest steward or through the dedicated hotline at 07929 221878.