Norwich City explain their opt-out of Stonewall campaign

The rainbow laces that will indicate Stonewall's campaign this weekend.

The rainbow laces that will indicate Stonewall's campaign this weekend. - Credit: Archant

Norwich City issued a statement on Thursday night confirming Chris Hughton's squad will not wear rainbow laces against Aston Villa this weekend, as part of a campaign designed to raise awareness within football about combatting homophobia.

Gay rights charity Stonewall in tandem with a leading national bookmaker launched a drive earlier this week to urge professional clubs in England and Scotland to wear multi-coloured laces in their football boots this weekend.

The club statement read: 'We will not be asking our players to wear the Rainbow Laces this Saturday but we are committed to combatting homophobia and all other forms of discrimination in the game. We firmly believe football is an inclusive game which everyone should be able to enjoy watching – and playing.

'Norwich City is proud to have included our great former striker Justin Fashanu in our Hall of Fame and has worked with the Justin Campaign and Norwich Pride on activities at the Club to celebrate his life, with his niece Amal Fashanu.

'We are one of 29 professional clubs to have signed up to the Government's Charter Against Homophobia and Transphobia and welcome continued efforts to tackle homophobia on and off the pitch.

'We've had positive discussions with both Stonewall and Norwich Pride this week and invited them to meet with us to talk about our on-going work in this important area.

'The Premier League this week has also issued a statement on the matter, which is as follows: 'The underlying message behind this campaign is a good one, indeed we and our clubs have worked hard with government and other stakeholders to ensure the whole equalities agenda is something we are fully aware of and engaged in.

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''However, we were not consulted about this particular campaign. Had we been involved earlier in the process we could have worked with Stonewall to consider things like boot deals, the use of particular betting partners, and other issues.

''It is up to individual clubs and players to decide whether they support this campaign. We have let Stonewall know that we would be happy to talk to them in the future to discuss ways in which we could work together.''