Widnes Vikings to wear Rainbow Laces logo on shirts
Super League club partners with charity Stonewall to raise awareness of LGBT inclusion in sport; Vikings co-captain Joe Mellor 'proud' to see club make statement
Last Updated: 30/11/17 12:06pm
Widnes Vikings have pledged their support for Rainbow Laces and will wear the campaign's logo on their shirts in 2018.
The Vikings will help to raise awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) inclusion in sport by partnering with Stonewall, the charity that runs the campaign, becoming the first Super League club to do so.
Widnes will feature the Rainbow Laces logo on the reverse of their 2018 primary and alternative shirts as a demonstration of their commitment to equality and diversity in sport.
The club has also confirmed plans for a dedicated 2018 Betfred Super League match day, which will include Vikings stars taking to the field wearing Rainbow Laces as well as a host of fan engagement opportunities.
Activities extend off the pitch through the club's award-winning Vikings Sports Foundation, who will use Stonewall's resources to deliver innovative equality and diversity sessions in secondary schools across Cheshire and Merseyside backed by crowdfunding.
"Rugby League is a sport that everyone should be able to enjoy, so we are pleased to be able to promote Stonewall's Rainbow Laces campaign," Joe Mellor, Widnes co-captain said.
"We are proud to see our club make a real statement about inclusivity by featuring the logo on our shirt and inviting players to wear Rainbow Laces in an upcoming Super League fixture."
'Visibility is really important'
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The Vikings are making the announcement during Stonewall's 2017 Rainbow Laces Campaign Week, which runs until Sunday, December 3.
Widnes have been recognised as one of the UK's leaders in delivering social change through sport, and have been acclaimed for their work at the prestigious 3rd Sector Care Awards and Super League Man of Steel Awards.
Richard Munson, the Vikings' commercial and community director, added: "Widnes Vikings are proud to support Stonewall's Rainbow Laces campaign.
"As a club, we have a genuine commitment to promoting equality, so are keen to back this important campaign.
"We are excited to introduce Rainbow Laces to the Super League and to make a visible commitment of our support, by featuring the logo on the first team's playing kits.
"We are looking forward to dedicating a fixture to the campaign. This will see our players, partners and supporters come together to proudly express that there is no place for homophobia or discrimination in our sport.
"I would like to thank the team at Stonewall for their support in developing this special relationship."
Robbie de Santos, Head of Campaigns at the charity, said: 'Having this level of support and this level of visibility is incredibly important. We know that sport brings people together and it has the power to change attitudes.
"We're really excited to start working with the Widnes Vikings to make that change happen and to show that sport is everyone's game.
"We know most people believe anti-LGBT chants and abuse are a problem, so we're calling on everyone to pick up Rainbow Laces and to proudly show their support for LGBT people in sport.'