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“End Rainbow Coercion,” Let All Play Urges English Premier League 

Non-religious people should not be required to wear a symbol with which they disagree.

Religious people should not be required to wear a symbol with which they disagree. 

 

LetAllPlay.org, November 29, 2019 -- The English Premier League (EPL) will again host an LGBT promotion week December 3-9 called Rainbow Laces Week, with the LGBT rainbow appearing on the laces of cleats for players and referees, captain armbands, corner flags, ball plinths, substitution boards, and handshake boards. “To be authentically welcoming to all, soccer should be about soccer, not divisive controversies,” counters Let All Play founder Jennifer Bryson. 

 

The rainbow does not belong on player equipment or field gear in soccer. The rainbow represents a political image to some, a violation of biological reality to others, and a religious image to others.  Thus, EPL’s use of the LGBT rainbow in Rainbow Laces Week violates soccer’s Laws of the Game: “Equipment must not have any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images” (Law 04.5). Objections to the rainbow in sports are non-religious as well as religious. 

 

As for non-religious objections, “The LGBT rainbow symbol serves, among other causes, as a symbol for transgenderism… Those opposing transgenderism should not be required to wear a political symbol that represents an effort to harm fairness and safety in, or even to obliterate, sports opportunities distinctively for girls and women,” including in soccer, explains the 2019 Report “Let All Play: Yes to Soccer, No to Politics.” Beth Stelzer, founder of Save Women’s Sports has explained that “the issue of men invading women's sports does not need to involve religion or politics, only biological reality." Religion scholar Dr. Paul Marshall of Baylor University explains that it is wrong to demand non-religious individuals to wear the rainbow, a religious image representing Biblical values: “Requiring people who do not believe what is taught in Genesis to display symbols of religions they do not follow is a denial of their religious freedom."

 

Regarding religious objections, Marshall further explains, "The rainbow is a particular symbol for Christians and Jews. Genesis describes how God gave the rainbow as part of a promise that He would not destroy the world by water. It is the sacred sign of a covenant between God and humankind. To demand that people trivialise their beliefs by using it for political or social display is an insult to their religion.” Plus, Christian soccer players such as Jaelene Hinkle and Josip Brekalo have declined to wear the LGBT rainbow in soccer because they object to LGBT promotion. (See the report “Let All Play: Yes to Soccer, No to Politics,” pages 6-7.) 

 

The English Premier League should not require Christians, Jews, Muslims, and others who object to participate in Rainbow Laces Week. Instead EPL should make soccer authentically welcoming for all. End rainbow coercion. Tell FIFA to enforce its own rules against political and religious images on soccer equipment. Sign the petition at https://citizengo.org/en-us/node/170719

 

Read “Five Questions About FIFA and the LGBT Rainbow,” https://www.letallplay.org/fifa-faq

Read the 2019 report “Let All Play: Yes to Soccer, No to Politics,” https://www.letallplay.org/fifa ###

This press release is available via Twitter thread at https://twitter.com/LetAllPlay/status/1200462118564311040 

Contact: Jennifer Bryson, Founder, Let All Play