Boss backs Rainbow Laces campaign


Arsene Wenger has given his backing to the Rainbow Laces campaign, which aims to remind fans and clubs from across the world that homophobia in football, and sports in general, is unacceptable.

The captains of Manchester United and Arsenal will exchange a pair of super-sized Rainbow Laces in a historic moment before kick-off at their game at Old Trafford on Sunday, and the Arsenal manager believes that people’s sexuality should be an irrelevance in sport.

“Sport is based on merit, not identity,” he said. “No matter where you come from or what kind of sexuality you are, you just play on merit,

“If you are good enough, you play. Sport is a big example. It is what society should be about. If you are good enough you play and sport can be a big example.”

You don’t have to scratch the surface very far to find an underbelly of homophobia in football, and as yet, unlike in other sports like rugby and GAA, no Premier League player has felt comfortable enough to come out because of that.

For more on the campaign, see here – or follow the very Arsenal specific Gay Gooners.

Listen to today’s Arsecast for a Robert Pires tribute and much more

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114 Comments on "Boss backs Rainbow Laces campaign"

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Arsene-al fan

Concentrate on winning the league please. Any effort elsewhere is wasted, however good the cause.

Arsene-al fan

Players, practise your shooting, goals are what is needed at the moment, not videos for a good cause.

Be like the invincibles, winners tough at the core, rather than like recent sides, seen as a soft touch that can’t cope when things get tough.

Why are we supporting our team – because they win trophies or because the players are really nice people diverted by doing really nice things?

Erick R.

I support The Arsenal because they ARE The Arsenal… trophy or not. Would I like for them to win trophies… of course. But even if they went countless years without winning one (and there have been such stretches in the club history), I will still support them. The fact that they are standing up for such a cause is one of many reasons why I do. You can’t buy class.

If you only want trophies, Barcelona or Bayern are good clubs to support. You can buy their shirts and show your material pride.

Arsene-al fan

I started to support them about the time Charlie George scored his goal in the FA Cup final in 1971. So have seen enough bad times, though thanks for the lecture, you are a great fan.

We have a chance this season if our players concentrate on winning, not (as I’ve said several times) a GOOD CAUSE.


I’ve met Charlie George. He spends a lot of his time doing good things

Lance Banner

I think there’s a spot in the Diego Costa fan club for you mate.

Arsene-al fan

Interesting, you recommend that an Arsenal fan supports a Chelsea player, because I want Arsenal to win trophies?

I’ll stay supporting Arsenal thanks.

The Only Olivier is Giroud
The Only Olivier is Giroud

Very nice.


Those laces look nice!


Once again Arsenal demonstrates its classiness. Top club

Le Jim

Great message, and I love how eloquently the boss puts it.

The laces look pretty cool regardless of what message they send as well 😉

Naija Gunner

In SPORTS most people don’t rely on religion nor believe in God or His Commandments to guide them, cos if they do, things like this wouldn’t be an Issue!


This comment just makes no sense. Firstly have you even watched any sport? Particularly in america, where the first thing that sportsmen usually reference is God in any victory. Secondly it’s those same God fearing people who are normally the vanguard of the bigotry creating the very issue!


There are 20 % of people who are God fearing. 20% of people who are liberal.
Twas always so.
They fight for the attention of the middle 60% to form social mores.
For centuries the God Fearing won that battle but now they lose it.
Public opinion is the only measure of acceptability – that doesn’t make it right.

Will the FA support religious freedom? Or is it only Gay Pride?

Yankee Gooner

Because you can’t be God fearing and liberal? I always suspected that Jesus didn’t * really * fear God when he did all that free feeding, clothing, and healing. Pinko.


As for people, fair enough. It is a problem which is the premise of this campaign.

As for religion, Jesus said one of the two most important commandments is to love others as yourself. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

Thierry Bergkamp

Each to their own i guess


If you are good enough you play? Unless you are nick bentner who wasn’t good enough but still played.

Good to say arsenal taking a lead in this matter though. Class as usual.


Well yes each to there own but why does Football need to accept the responsibility for moralising and dictating standards of socially acceptability?

If there is a problem with homophobia within football then that needs to be addressed in the clubs.
This meaningless gesture is telling society that they have a problem with their attitude and that they need to change – while the fa and uefa can clap themselves on the back for their progayness – but the gay footballers aren’t coming out because of the fans. They are staying hid because they are in all male environments which do not easily accept homosexuality.
Maybe there are a lot of gay footballers but given how metrosexual and socially aware the modern footballer is then you would have to expect that their are not as many as you suspect,
Its not 1974, a gay footballer probably wouldn’t cause as much of a ripple as a black footballer would in 1994 or say someone with a condition such as Alan Hutton or Danny Mills might have,

Uefa – Educate your clubs for a year then Find clubs and players that discriminate against gay players and dock them points, fine them.
or hand out laces and tell fans that they should be more forgiving to the hidden gays in the team.


Great post. It would be very interesting to see what would happen if a top player came out as gay.


This is far from my favorite topic, but lets not pretend that this gesture is anything more than a marketing ploy – and not a very original one at that. They will continue to back this cause in this way, as long as the circumstances remain marketable. If nobody comes out, I would imagine the club wouldn’t lose much sleep over that.

What would be the consequences to your brand in Asia and worldwide if suddenly Cech, Koscielny, Ozil, Sanchez and Ramsey came out?

Arseblog, you clever bugger, would you have freely continued to dedicate casual love letters to Pires were had he come out?

Certainly, I look forward to a future (and it will come) where no-one gives a jot about such things, however the nature of football fandom would have to bear little resemblance to the contemporary one – a whole new approach to supporting your players/team may need to be invented by that time.

I think it is premature to attach any importance to that gesture – I don’t think it make a jot of a difference.


Won’t make a jot of difference? Did you say the same about Kick-It-Out? I remember when monkey chants were quite common at matches in England and it was normal to hear racist taunting of black players when watching games in the pub. Now, thanks largely to Kick-It-Out, that sort of casual racism has become incredibly rare and if it ever happens most people are appalled and don’t know where to look.

High time homophobia became equally unacceptable, but nothing changes without effort. Campaigns like this are necessary and it’s great that Arsenal players are doing their bit. Nice video too.


Per should be allowed to commemorate the occasion by tying Rooney’s rainbow laces for him in the centre circle

Andy Mack

If they want Rooney to hobble onto the pitch then it would be correct to tie the laces tightly around his neck and do the world a favour!


The general message in the media is, “its okay to be gay”. Theres gay people in every single media outlet. Radio, telly, magazines papers,social media. So i dont get the sports to cool for gays hype! And at the almost at the same time bashing people for not jumping on the gay/transgender/lesbian bandwagon. Its almost shoved your face, your kids face….i mean like my 8 year old…seeing stuff about being transgender and all sorts. But my question is why?

Almost as if your a bad person because of your personal opinion….

I have nothing against gay people, like has been said earlier…each to their own. If spurs players came out as gay….do you really think im going to shout’ Ahhhh look, a gay!!” If anything id expect a fellow gooner to tell me to shut it….or for a big gay guy to give me a slap! I know not everyone is going to act in this way, but there will always be a divide in an opinion. Were not machines. And no matter how much pro gay propoganda is thrown in my face…my opinion wont change. But i wont be a cunt about it. I have gay freinds, and they know my opinion. I dont get chastised for it as much as i dont them for being gay.

People say ah your a bigot, old views and get with the times. A lot, lot of people just dont and will never accept it.
I wish the campaign well but i dont really know where they expect it to go. When one player comes out…and the sport and its fans no doubt go…meh!…no big deal…the sooner alot more players come out. And life can go on. Just needs literally one and the rest will follow.


And your point is?

Perry S.

add another reason of how this man brings so much class to this club. we and the footballing world will sorely miss this ambassador of the sport. only one arsene…


I see myself missing 5 minutes before and after kick off. Not that it matters anyway, since I watch on TV. All Free Folk (gay or straight) should be absolutely Free to not like what they don’t like. On with the football ”abeg”!


This rainbow laces is wrong. Just helping gays not saying much about other Christian views or the free folk

Ivan Drago

So helping others is wrong? How very christian of you…

Yankee Gooner

You’re leaving out a very pro-Christian organization called The Entire Western World.


That is one of my favourite videos on this subject. I could watch it over and over again.

I really applaud the fact that our club is supporting equal rights. Everyone should be able to show who they love. That’s not politics, it’s being a decent human being!

Giroud's abs

It’s true. Giroud is gorgeous. It’s great to see the club fight something that has no place in any sport, on the field or from the stands.


Arsenal have a long history of tolerance towards gays, from Herbert ‘leather’ Chapman to La di da Gunner (George) Graham.

TR7 > CR7

I can’t change that I look like a gorgeous short and hairy turtle that once looked like a teenage Lewis Hamilton before being mutated.


I’m personally not in support of anything gay; however, that is only my idea and I do not impose my views onto others. Likewise, pro-gay should not be endorsed so openly, considering that there is a vast majority who are neutral.

I’m within my rights to express my views, just like pro-gay and I should not be discriminated for that. If I were to be discriminated or bombarded with abuse, then it shows that I’m being abused for being normal.

Remember, neither do I support gay nor do I insist that being a majority is the norm.


1. Nobody is imposing a view on anyone. 2. Being gay isn’t a view or a lifestyle choice.

People are gay. They are welcome at Arsenal. What’s the issue?


If such elaborate support is not imposing / supporting a lifestyle, then what is it? Let their sexual orientation remain at their bedrooms, just like the others!!

Punish anybody who is discriminating them, why extend support?

Moreover, why the intolerance because I’m supportive of the natural orientation?


It’s not just a matter of “bedrooms”, just as it isn’t for heterosexuals. Do you never talk to your friends or workmates about your partner because he or she only “belongs in the bedroom”? I bet you talk about that person casually. Players might want to have their partner with them during parties, celebrating a trophy, etc., but as long as they cannot be open about their sexuality, they can’t do that.

Thomas Hitzlsperger has talked exhaustively about the issues after he came out – there are players who pretend to have girlfriends just so they fit the narrative, sometimes even supplied by agencies, clubs might not employ a player who is gay, and so on. Open support rather than just grudging acceptance that gay people might exist is needed so people feel they are in an environment where they can be who they actually are.

(And I’m not even going into the “natural orientation” thing.)


I completely agree with you Blogs. I should, more correctly, have written “why is this still an issue?” It’s 2016. We’ve had equality of marriage for ages. The world did not stop turning. I can’t believe what I’m reading on this thread.

David C

I can’t believe some of the crap I’m reading on here, especially from so-called moral and religious people.

Rainbow laces is a great idea to bring attention to this issue. No one seems to complain about FA and UEFA trying to combat racism through football so why does helping rid the world of other types of discrimination (sexual or otherwise) cause this type of hateful speech?

It’s 2016, some of you need to come out of your caves.

For the record, I’m Catholic and straight. My faith teaches me to love all. For those confused Christians, really ask yourself what would Jesus do?

Love and equality to all!


I know Catholics who are gay. That would make the heads of some people in this thread explode.

Andy Mack

No, the catholic priests where just giving the choirboys health checks!


David, why do you feel the need to tell others how they should feel? Who are you to judge others opinions, just because they dont match your own.

Come out your caves you say, some people have been out their cave, seen it,thought about it…and just thought meh, not for me, if it please you carry on. But i don’t agree with it.

Now thats thier right to believe what they want, just as it is for you to have your own.

But people dont want to be told what to think and feel. Thats plain wrong.

Neils Scruggs

Thanks Blogs for supporting this important issue. I come hear to read about Arsenal but it nice to know that the site is run by a open, tolerant person. I became an Arsenal supporter because of the way they played football, but it is nice to know they are an open and tolerant club.


Like I said, i’m not for discriminating anybody based on their sexual orientation. My question is why eulogise the support for gay like this, when there are so many issues that can be addressed? Poverty, for example.

My love for an individual does not depend on their sexual orientation, caste or creed. I believe we are all created by one same God and has loved us all equally, so there is no question of me less loving someone.

Blogs, regarding your question about “So what if you had a gay friend, or a gay son or daughter, you wouldn’t support them?”, my answer is that my love for them will be unconditional; however, that does not mean I have to support it.

My only question is why celebrate gay so much when there are so many, many issues that can be addressed?

Just because I express my views, I do not become a caveman and I’m entitled to my opinion, as long as I’m not discriminating anybody.


Blogs, I hope you have not blocked me; because if you did that, it would be unfair of you to block me based on expressing a certain opinion, while not discriminating gays.

Just like you, I support a certain orientation without discriminating the other, while expressing my views – what is wrong with that?

Hope your blog does not extend so much of intolerance.

Tarquin Farquar

You called yourself normal which implies being gay is not normal. Then you keep telling us your not discriminating.


I say I’m normal because I participate in advancing the human race by being hetero…


Tim Cook Apple CEO is gay and I would wager a pretty penny which of you is contributing more to the advancement of the human race.


Gay people still have the ability to procreate, just so you know


Heterosexuality’s not normal, just common :-p


Homophobia, racism, sexism and all forms of discrimination (including that of a persons nationality) are basically the work of cowards.


While this campaign is very classy of Arsenal, I believe it ultimately may lead to lack of team chemistry.

As a player, how would you feel next to someone in the dressing room and showering with someone who you knew was gay? Would it lead to different decisions being taken on the field?

To clarify, I am not homophobic but I just feel that it would destabilize the team if someone in our team came out. Thoughts?


If a player changed their behaviour based on that, I’d think a lot less of them and their maturity. Just like, for instance, I’m thinking a lot less of Jens Lehmann after the truly stupid things he said when Thomas Hitzlsperger came out.

Tarquin Farquar

Try having therapy it may help you with your insecurities. You can look st why you would feel uncomfortable in the shower. It might be very revealing for you, depending on how honest you get.


I honestly don’t think it’s really an issue for most people. Gay people aren’t jumping on straight people in showers anywhere. Gay people aren’t deviants. They’re just ladies who like ladies and dudes who like dudes. Worse case scenario maybe a dude will think you’re handsome and pay you a compliment.


What if someone was born Jewish? Would a stalwart Catholic or Protestant prefer to not pass the ball to them? Could that make the chemistry go bonkers? What if Mertesacker read books that Theo find too difficult? Would that rock the boat?

Come on… Are you actually advocating that people who fall in love with people of the same sex as themselves should shut up, hide who they are and, perhaps, preferably get out of football? Because that’s a bit homophobic, I believe.


Something that should be pointed out about this thread is the patience and collegiality shown by ‘Blogs for dissenting opinions. I come here for the footy, but ‘Blogs’ thoughtfulness with dissent is an added bonus.

Were that it were so in all corners with all stripes.


To be fair 95% of this thread has been respectful…whether views are the same or different. I think the same will be said about the behavior of fans in stadia and on social media ect. Once a high profile footballer comes out. Like i said, too much hype, almost overthinking it. It will just become part of the norm…just like in everyday life. We all know a gay person, partner, freind, work colleague…how often do you see them get shit for it. Rarely ever, just like the fat person, disabled person ect.


Homophobia is the hatred or fear of homosexuals, sometimes leading to acts of violence and expressions of hostility.

I have expressed none of the above. Yet, I cannot believe the kind of bile that is expressed against my opinions. Where is the question of human indecency here?

I support a certain orientation while not supporting another; now, how does that make me an alien or a coward?

I am within my rights to express my opinion without discriminating someone or being disrespectful to another person. I said there are many other important issues that need support, why not support others equally? Why is this matter eulogised to this extent?

I am beginning to understand that an individual becomes a coward or a caveman or not part of a modern enlightened society if he does not choose to follow the pack, while still respecting their opinions.

Tarquin Farquar

Wonderful. This is called identification with people who are discriminated against. Hopefully this will lead you to being more understanding and empathic. You know how it feels, though you have had very little discrimination in the responses just adult constructive challenge. It could help you to look at why I became so defensive

Yankee Gooner

I think it’s a mistake to say this is “identification with discrimination” because he (presumably) is not being discriminated against, just disagreed with. It’s all too common, especially in the US, for members of dominant culture to cry discrimination when their discriminatory and subjugating views and practices are questioned. These laces will not infringe on There’s ability to be openly straight at all; these laces will not prohibit him from publicly practicing (or not practicing) whatever form of religion he may want, and neither do these oppositional comments. These laces simply state that a significant number of our brothers and sisters are NOT free to openly practice their identities without suffering material repercussions and that it ought to be otherwise. If you find that offensive or against your religious beliefs, fine, but you’re not being discriminated against.

Tarquin Farquar

Think you missed the point fella.

Yankee Gooner

No, just making another one. This comment thread is loaded with anti-gay commenters claiming they are being discriminated against because others disagree with them.


I don’t agree with what you’re saying but I also think you’ve been pretty polite in expressing your views and I honestly don’t see any bile being directed towards you.
You say you support straight people and you just don’t support gay people. Look, you’re entitled to your opinion but without trying to muddy waters do you see how if I said something like ‘I support white people but don’t support black people’ that some people would find that sentiment troubling. Gay people actually need support just so that they can have the same rights as the rest of us. How could I not want someone just to have the same rights as you and me.
It’s not about promoting something so much as it’s about encouraging acceptance of people’s right to love whoever they want.


I remember the day gay marriage passed in Ireland. The news that evening was full of happy smiling people celebrating simply being given the same rights as everyone else. No one is losing out here.
I’ll always remember the news interviewing two elderly ladies who were overjoyed to finally be able to express their love just like everyone else. At the end they gave each other a hug and a peck on the lips and I honestly don’t know how anyone could have watched that without it warming their hearts.


Blogs, have you seen this music video on the subject? It’s very powerful, I hope even across the language barrier (there are English subtitles).


Just wanted to also add my appreciation that the blog supports these issues and provides a fair environment where we can talk about this kind of stuff.

Slim Gooner

I don’t know but the thoughts of Ozil and Flamini coming out as the ultimate example of this campaign did scare me for a bit…


But Ozil doesn’t have laces 🙂


I’m personally don’t like anything orange. The majority tend to wear black or blue and people in orange really stand out. I really don’t like it when people push the pro orange agenda on me. People should just put orange back in the closet and only wear it in the privacy of their own home, but that is just my view.

Then the majority won’t have to try and understand why some people wear orange or worry that their children or a footballer might one day wear orange. It’s just best kept hidden so as not to offend the majority. I feel the same about lilac. These are just my views. I’m glad Arsenal don’t support orange. Although I think Sczcenzy had an orange kit once. It was wrong.

Captain Fantastic

How great would it be if the teams walked out before kickoff to YMCA by the village people!!!


The thing is I’m a pretty terrible person.
I’m selfish and sorta paranoid and when it comes to gay people I’ve no real frame of reference and I fear I’d sort of shut down in a group of gay people because I’m sorta reserved myself.
I don’t campaign or anything for gay people but as a lazy dude supporting gay rights is literally the easiest thing for me to do. I lose nothing and other people get to be happy. It’s a win win situation that requires zero effort from me.
For anyone who would like to explore more I’ve personally found The Mary Sue website really good. They report mostly film and tv news and from what I gather they have straight, gay and even some trans writers and you just find out that all different sorts of people are just like the rest of us and just want to live their lives and go about their day.

uncle D

And please no silly coq jokes and Ozil and Flamini. Friendship and integrity have been down played these days, under valued qualities of what makes the human race. What are we teaching our kids from our behaviour these days?!! Priorities people! Priorities! Now back to the beautiful game of football not soccer! Haha

Ray Blake

Belief are harder to change than behaviour. The campaign doesn’t say, ‘You should think this.’ It says, ‘We think this and we expect you to behave in a way that respects that.’

You’re entitled to be a racist, a sexist, a homophobe inside your own head. It’d be nice if you weren’t, but that’s not within our control. What we can insist is that you behave around our club as though you weren’t.

Eventually, belief will mirror behaviour.


This is important for straight people.