MEPs send Rainbow Laces to football teams ahead of World Cup
Ahead of the men’s football World Cup, MEPs from the European Parliament’s LGBTI Intergroup shipped dozens of rainbow shoelaces to football teams across Europe today.
“Wear the enclosed rainbow shoelaces during training, on the street, in the stands or at home while watching football. Take a picture and share it on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook using the #supportallcolours hashtag” says the letter accompanying the shoelaces packages.
The campaign #supportallcolours, supported by the ALDE (UK: Lib Dem), Greens/EFA (Green/SNP/Plaid), GUE/NGL (Sinn Fein) and S&D (Labour) parliamentary political groups, aims at raising awareness on the human rights situation in Russia where the LGBTI community suffers discrimination and persecution.
Terry Reintke MEP, co-chair of the LGBTI Intergroup, said: “Attacks on democracy and transparency, freedom of the press and expression, human rights and the rights of minorities (including the LGBTI community) make the choice of Russia as a host country for the FIFA World Cup a rather controversial one.
“As football fan and LGBTI rights defender, I believe sports and human rights can go together. Big international sport competitions like the FIFA World Cup are a great opportunity to raise awareness on human rights issues and push for change.”
Anti-progaganda laws, which prohibit information and education about “non-traditional ways” of living together for minors and even for adults, making it very difficult for LGBTI activists to continue their work. 2018 marks also one year of persecutions against (perceived) gay men in Chechnya, for which no official and transparent investigation has taken place.
Members of the LGBTI Intergroup will also distribute rainbow laces at Prides around Europe. Football fans are invited to wear them in the street or at home while watching a football match, to take a picture and post it on social media with the hashtag #supportallcolours.
Daniele Viotti MEP, co-chair of the LGBTI Intergroup, commented: “The beginning of the World Cup also coincides with the start of Pride season in Europe. In many countries, Prides are contested and under attack.
“Distributing Rainbow Laces at Prides around Europe is a way to show that while we celebrate in some places, we also are in solidarity with countries where Prides are at risk – in Russia or elsewhere”.
The national men’s football teams of Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Iceland, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Russia should receive their Rainbow Laces this week.
Photo: MEPs with packets of rainbow laces ready to mail.