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Danish soccer players union launches campaign against homophobia

Rainbow armbands and laces coming to Denmark.

Iceland v Denmark - UEFA European U21 Championships
Mathias Zanka will be a face of Danish soccer’s campaign against homophobia.
Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

The Danish Soccer Players’ Association has launched a campaign it hopes will combat homophobia in soccer and bring awareness to the support LGBT people have in the sport. Some of the country’s biggest soccer stars are participating.

“We want to combat homophobia,” said Jeppe Curth, chairman of the Danish Soccer Players’ Association. “It’s as simple as that. Homophobia does not have a place in sports. We acknowledge that there’s a problem with homophobia in the world of soccer.”

The campaign will feature a visibility component that includes rainbow-colored armbands and rainbow shoe laces. The players’ association is also setting up a hotline for people to report homophobia. Other elements will include rainbow-colored logos and social media campaigns.

Hopefully there are efforts to reach out to LGBT athletes and coaches to support them and share their stories, and create some educational initiatives as well.

“I think people at the stadium say and yell things that might be discriminating,” said captain of F. C. Copenhagen and Danish national team player Mathias Zanka, who will be a face of the campaign. “And the same thing unfortunately happens in the locker rooms and lower series. We must change this and I am convinced that we can do so with united effort.”

The LGBT community in Copenhagen is strong and well-integrated in the culture. Denmark was the first country to offer legal recognition of same-sex relationships in 1989, legalizing same-sex marriage in 2012. Copenhagen is currently bidding to host the Eurogames and World Pride in 2021.