December 19, 2014, by Mike Munro

We don’t care which team you play for

Sportsmen and women across Nottingham will be lacing up their boots with rainbow laces to show their support for the Stonewall UK campaign of the same name, aimed at fighting homophobia in sport.

The University of Nottingham recently presented pairs of rainbow laces to players at Nottingham Forest Ladies Football Club as well as its own women’s football and men’s hockey clubs.

The presentation was made to mark that in 2015 the University will again be hosting a number of events celebrating diversity in sport at all levels. Now in its second year, the Diversity in Sport series aims to highlight the experiences of minority groups in sport, focusing on sexuality, gender, disability and race.

Claire Henson, Equality and Diversity Events Coordinator at the University, said: ‘The University of Nottingham believes it is of the utmost importance to promote inclusion and diversity throughout the organisation and wider community. The Diversity in Sport series, which is part of the overall equality and diversity events programme, is just one example of the value we place on increasing opportunities for all, irrespective of who you are.’

Although the Stonewall campaign focuses on fighting homophobia in football, staff at the University felt they had special cause (and over 400,000 reasons) to extend the offer of rainbow laces to the men’s hockey club.

Last month, club members starred in a video aimed at highlighting the issue of homophobia in sport which received international coverage and amassed almost half a million views on YouTube.

Piers Denning, President of the men’s hockey club, said: “I think it’s fair to say we had no idea how big the reaction to the video would be but it’s really good to see how positively it has been received”

“I think I speak for everybody in university sport when I say that playing within a university sports club is the best thing about your day to day life. We think it’s very important that absolutely everyone should be able to get involved and the fact that someone may think they wouldn’t feel welcome due to who they are is quite ridiculous. We just wanted to show that we are very much against the prominent issue of homophobia in sport and that as a sports club we are very welcoming to a range of different people”

PJ Andrews, Chair of Nottingham Forest Ladies, said ‘We are delighted to work with the University of Nottingham to support the Stonewall Rainbow Laces Campaign and it’s message of inclusion for all in sport. Team sport brings about its own diversities and understandings and if we can continue to promote an equal and welcome environment in Nottingham Forest Ladies football club, and on a wider scale, then we will do whatever we can to support that initiative.’

To find out more about the Diversity in Sport event series, please contact

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