The Rainbow Ball will be used in EFL matches from Feb. 16-24. | EFL

English soccer LGBTQ fan groups will reap big dividends if there are a lot of goals scored in the next eight days of play in the English Football League, which will use a rainbow-colored ball for matches.

Called the “Rainbow Ball,” the collaboration with PUMA is geared to LGBTQ History Month in the U.K. as part of an EFL inclusion initiative from Feb. 16-24. The EFL is a major soccer league one step below the English Premier League.

“The Rainbow Ball is a powerful emblem of diversity, pride, hope and activism. It demonstrates that football recognizes its status and impact on society and that it acts on all forms of discrimination, ensuring everyone can be part of the beautiful game,” said Ryan Atkin, an out gay soccer referee.

“I feel very proud that my colleagues and I will be the first people to handle the ball, as we bring it across the white line ready for kickoff.”

In its release announcing the ball, the EFL said that “for every goal scored with the Rainbow Ball across the Championship, League One and League Two, PUMA will make a donation to an LGBTQ+ Fans for Diversity Fund.

“The money raised will be utilized to support LGBTQ+ supporters and their projects which may include initiatives to raise awareness about inclusion in football, events promoting diversity, or providing resources for LGBTQ+ fans within the football community.”

I think this is a positive initiative since the ball will be used for eight days, not just one. And LGBTQ fan groups in English soccer have made great strides in being recognized as they push against homophobia in the sport.

I would love to see something similar in U.S. pro sports, but won’t hold my breath. If the Taylor Swift-Travis Kelce romance caused some people to lose their minds, a rainbow-colored NFL football would make their heads explode.