Scottish League One club Airdrieonians have confirmed their support for Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign.
In spite of media reports suggesting that there was little interest in Scottish football for wearing the laces last year, Airdrieonians players were not only involved but ran a supportive piece in the matchday programme. Additional coloured laces were also obtained for their under-20s team, members of which had specifically requested the opportunity to demonstrate their support.
Airdrieonians captain Patrick Boyle has confirmed that the club will again be supporting a cause that is close to many players’ hearts. He explained to KaleidoScot that the players are onside and strongly feel that the Rainbow Laces initiative can make a huge difference in changing attitudes.
“Speaking to the boys it’s clear all of them are happy to be pushing for greater exposure on the subject especially in football”, said Boyle. “It’s safe to say everyone in the squad knows someone who is homosexual. It is hard to believe there is no current players across the whole of Europe who are not gay so therefore they must be living in fear of what would happen should they step forward.”
Boyle, who counts Everton and Dunfermline Athletic among his former clubs, added that there is a need to change the way that football and footballers are often perceived: “Football typically likes to portray a hard man image and we feel this is a major issue. We feel the Rainbow Laces campaign can show another side to football and also show those who are perhaps scared too let others know their sexual orientation that everyone in football is supportive of them.”
Airdrieonians will be taking on Greenock Morton at Cappielow on Saturday and will be sporting the rainbow-coloured laces in a powerful gesture of solidarity with the LGBTI community. Several other Scottish clubs have already indicated their support for the campaign, and KaleidoScot will be at Galabank for the League Two clash between two of those supportive clubs – Annan Athletic and Berwick Rangers.
More information on the aims of the Rainbow Laces campaign can be found on Stonewall’s website.