Sky Sports among the newest members of TeamPride

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Watch Stonewall's campaign video for #RainbowLaces, featuring Matt Lister, Sophie Cook, Casey Stoney and other LGBT coaches, fans and players

Stonewall, Britain's leading lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality charity, has confirmed that Sky Sports are among the newest members of TeamPride, alongside the Premier League, Manchester United, O2, Visa and Pitch Marketing Group.

The TeamPride coalition is committed to making sport everyone's game by encouraging fans, players, sports clubs and organisations to show their support of lesbian, gay, bi and trans people.

The full list of members now includes Sky Sports, adidas, Aon, Aviva, Pitch Marketing Group, the Premier League, Manchester United, O2 and Visa.

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Image: The TeamPride coalition is committed to making sport everyone's game

This week (November 21-27), as part of the Stonewall Rainbow Laces campaign, sport clubs across Britain are hosting a Rainbow Laces takeover.

Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports, said: "At Sky Sports, we take pride in bringing the fantastic stories within sport to life every day, as well as the issues that lie at the heart of sport.

PL supporting Rainbow Laces

PL supporting Rainbow Laces

The Premier League, the EFL and the FA will show their support for the LGBT community at the weekend

"By being part of TeamPride, we can shine a light on those issues and help to tackle them. We are passionate about sport and want everyone to feel a part of it and the Rainbow Laces campaign can help make that happen.

"We're proud to be a founding partner of TeamPride."

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Michael Carrick of Manchester United and Laurent Koscielny of Arsenal exchange rainbow laces before the Premier League match on 28 February 2016
Image: Michael Carrick and Laurent Koscielny exchange rainbow laces before last season's clash at Old Trafford

The Premier League are marking their support for the campaign at every fixture this weekend, with perimeter advertising at every match including supporting Rainbow Laces messaging and every game to be opened with a giant Premier League Rainbow Laces flag.

Football clubs around Britain, including all Premier League clubs, and a number of clubs in the Sky Bet EFL Championship, League One and League Two, Premiership Rugby and Welsh Rugby will be involved. The football clubs include Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Hull City, and rugby clubs include Sale, Newcastle, Bristol and Bath.

Rainbow Laces: Everyone's game

Rainbow Laces: Everyone's game

Showing respect for diversity is unifying message of campaign, supported by Sky Sports

Activities include teams wearing Rainbow Laces during training sessions, laces being handed out at weekend fixtures and clubs organising meetings between LGBT fan groups.

Working alongside Stonewall, TeamPride brings together organisations from diverse sectors to find ways of creating inclusive and equal environments in sports for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people. 

Earlier this year, Stonewall commissioned new research conducted by ICM into homophobic, biphobic and transphobic attitudes and experiences among sports fans.

'Make sport everyone's game' - Rainbow Laces campaign, Stonewall
Image: The Premier League are marking their support for the campaign at every fixture this weekend

The research, released in September, showed that 72 per cent of football fans have heard homophobic abuse at a live sports event. But it also showed that the majority of sports fans support and welcome LGBT fans and players, with almost two thirds (63 per cent) saying more should be done to make LGBT people feel accepted in sport.

This week's campaign is about empowering that majority to step up and show their support of LGBT people, to help make sport everyone's game.

As part of the Rainbow Laces week, Pitch Marketing Group has produced a campaign video for Stonewall featuring LGBT athletes and fans talking about the effect that homophobic, biphobic and transphobic language has on sportspeople. 

Is English football ready for a gay star?

Is English football ready for a gay star?

Rainbow Laces campaign raising awareness of homophobia

The film features British canoeing champion Matt Lister, Sophie Cook, club photographer for AFC Bournemouth, and former England and Team GB women's football captain Casey Stoney, as well as coaches, fans and players - all of whom identify as lesbian, bi, gay or trans.

Stonewall is now looking for more organisations to join TeamPride, to provide further resources and support, and to enable the charity to tackle the problems raised in the research so that sport can be everyone's game. TeamPride is the headline sponsor for successful inclusive football club, Stonewall FC, in the 2016/17 season.

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