Two very powerful men in soccer chose to wear LGBTQ rainbow pins to the 2018 World Cup draw last week, held in the Kremlin.
Football Association CEO Martin Glenn and chairman Greg Clarke both wore pins commemorating the organization’s partnership with Rainbow Laces as an act of inclusion and defiance.
“We're proud to support Rainbow Laces, as is all of English football,” Glenn told Sky Sports. “We just felt that, particularly given some of the issues around homophobia in Russia, that we should make a statement. And we were actually complimented on it by a whole number of people. So we’re glad we did.”
Glenn told Sky Sports that representatives from other organizations in various countries asked them about the pins and the Rainbow Laces project. Rainbow Laces is now run by Stonewall, which is the United Kingdom’s largest LGBTQ-rights group. It is designed as an opportunity for people across sports to demonstrate their hope for inclusion in their sport.
I must say, I’m impressed with the Football Association’s embrace of LGBTQ inclusion over the last few months. I do believe there is a full-hearted attempt by the folks in the FA, including Clarke, to move the sport past the generations of homophobia that have come before.
This is the same Greg Clarke who just last year said he would not encourage gay professional soccer players to come out. Hopefully he’s changed that tune.
Recently clubs across the Premier League wore rainbow-colored laces in their cleats to express support, and various clubs changed their social-media presence to include the LGBTQ-inclusive rainbow.
That Clarke and Glenn wore a rainbow-colored pin, specifically designed to support LGBTQ inclusion, at a sporting event in Russia being watched by the entire world signals a hope for a better, more inclusive sports world.
This is a good thing.