Rainbow Laces campaign supported by Premier League

The Premier League is currently celebrating Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign, as part of a partnership with the lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT+) charity.

A new two-year strategic partnership was announced between the Premier League and Stonewall last week. The league has been partners with the charity since 2017 as it looks to improve inclusivity in the sport.

The partnership will focus on education, LGBT+ acceptance will be encouraged in football programmes for children and young people.

Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign will be in focus across two match weeks from the 4-13 December in the Premier League.

“The Premier League is committed to promoting equality in all we do and we are pleased to extend our relationship with Stonewall through this new strategic partnership,” Premier League Chief Executive, Richard Masters said.

“There is no place for discrimination of any kind in football or wider society.

“Our new partnership focuses on developing the positive LGBT+ inclusion projects we have carried out with Stonewall in recent years.

“A great deal of work has taken place to make football as welcoming as possible, promoting diversity on and off the pitch, and within our clubs’ communities.

“However, we know there is more to do and we look forward to making further progress.”

The campaign has seen Rainbow Laces themed ball plinths, handshake boards and substitute boards – players have been able to show their support through rainbow armbands for captains and rainbow laces.

The Premier League’s digital channels have been changed to feature a rainbow Premier League logo in support of the campaign.

Clubs have also launched initiatives to show their support – ahead of the Tottenham vs Arsenal match yesterday, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was lit up in rainbow colours.

“We’re immensely proud to announce the next phase of our strategic partnership with the Premier League during this year’s Rainbow Laces campaign,” Stonewall’s Chief Executive, Nancy Kelley said.

“The Premier League’s early support was a huge catalyst for driving change across football and sport more widely.”

“We look forward to continue building on our partnership and working ever more closely with the Premier League to create a game where all LGBT+ people are welcome and able to fulfil their potential in football.”

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Daniel Foley is a sports junior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and micro industry matters.

Australia awarded hosting rights for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2026

Football Australia have announced that the country has been awarded the hosting rights for the 2026 edition of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup.

This decision followed official ratification by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Executive Committee at their meeting on 15 May 2024 – held in Bangkok, Thailand – on the eve of the 34th AFC Congress after lengthy discussions. Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan had expressed interested in hosting but withdrew from the process.

This will be the second time the country has staged the Women’s Asian Cup, having previously hosted the competition in 2006.

This tournament will feature 12 of the qualified AFC nations, placed into three groups of four with matches played in the confirmed host states of New South Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia.

Australia co-hosted the record-breaking FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023 alongside New Zealand, with the Matildas making it to the semi-finals and have grown the sport exponentially over the past 12 months.

The success of Australian national teams, including the Subway Socceroos and CommBank Matildas, has led to a nationwide increase in football participation, with an overall 12% increase in 2023 and an impressive 20% increase already noted in 2024.

Football Australia is leveraging the AFC Women’s Asian Cup as a platform to further boost participation and develop the sport, aligning with upcoming international events like the Brisbane 2032 Olympics & Paralympics.

AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa explained the exciting decision to reward Australia another major women’s football tournament.

“On behalf of the Asian Football Confederation, I offer our sincere congratulations to Football Australia on being confirmed as hosts of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2026,” he said in a statement.

“I am confident that we will see a more vibrant and competitive edition in 2026 in Australia where the unrivalled passion for the women’s game is so palpable and we wish the Local Organising Committee the very best of success in their planning and preparation.

“I know the Asian football family joins me in reinforcing our confidence in Football Australia to elevate the ever-evolving stature and growth of women’s football in Asia.”

Football Australia Chairman Anter Isaac mentioned the benefits this will bring to the game in Australia.

“Securing the AFC Women’s Asian Cup is a testament to our nation’s dedication to football. It is not only a victory for the sport but for every Australian, offering significant economic and cultural benefits,” he added in a statement.

“We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the AFC, its Executive Committee, the Secretariat, and our fellow member associations for entrusting us with the privilege of hosting this prestigious tournament. We are committed to advancing the exceptional initiatives already established and delivered by the AFC and the broader Asian football community in women’s football.”

Football Australia confirmed its intention to launch a hosting bid in September 2022 and now expects the Women’s Asian Cup to generate up to $260 million in economic output and create over 1,000 jobs for the host states.

These states were chosen after discussions with state governments to ensure they are fully prepared to support the successful delivery of the tournament.

Football Australia CEO James Johnson expressed his excitement for the winning bid and upcoming tournament being played on home soil.

“We are profoundly honoured to host the 2026 edition of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup. This decision reflects the global football community’s confidence in our capability to deliver outstanding events. Following the resounding success of last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup™, we are eager to create another tournament that celebrates women’s football and inspires a new generation,” he stated.

The tournament dates in 2026 will be confirmed with the AFC in due course and training and venue inspections will occur in the coming months.

It remains an extremely exciting time for women’s football in Australia, with the Matildas consistently selling out large stadiums, the growth of the Liberty A-League and now another major tournament on the horizon that is sure to boost the grassroots game as well.

Football Queensland confirm radio collaboration with Sea FM and Mix FM

Football Queensland (FQ) recently confirmed a duel radio partnership with Airwaves Sea FM and Mix FM, with both stations to provide support for events and tournaments in the state.

The collaboration was made official via the FQ website, both stations will simultaneously provide a media platform for important FQ tournaments and events.

Both media companies are situated across the Sunshine Coast, with the agreement between the pair and FQ to operate throughout the remainder of the calendar year.

90.9 Sea FM have remained a prominent commercial radio outlet throughout the Sunshine Coast since their first live air date, stemming all the way back in 1989.

Comprehensive throughout their distribution, the outlet are predominantly a music based radio station, targeting a broader audience demographic.

To showcase further involvement within the broader community, the original partnership between the radio station and FQ has proved the fruitful acquisition for both parties, this is the second year running the two entities have collaborated.

Falling under the same ownership umbrella with Sea FM, Mix FM have made head-waves throughout the airwaves across the sunshine coast as a commercial radio targeted towards an older age demographic.

As publicised upon the FQ website, CEO Robert Cavallucci discussed his appraisal for the continued partnership between Mix FM and Sea FM.

“Football Queensland is excited to again partner with Sea FM and Mix FM for our 2024 Sunshine Coast events and tournaments following a successful partnership in 2023. We look forward to bringing these events to the Sunshine Coast community with the support of the two local stations as we work together to provide high quality and exciting events for all participants.”

A magnitude of events are scheduled to be showcased upon both platforms throughout the duration of the 2024 football calendar year.

The FQ Academy Junior Cup, WinterFest24, FQ Premier League 3 Grand Finals and Pacific Championships are all upon the broadcasting wish list.

Both Radio outlets are to continue in within the rich vein of form they showcased throughout the 2023 football season.

Continuing on with their respective on-site activities while ensuring that engagement with the community remains at its optimal level.

There is a uniqueness surrounding what this partnership means to a broader community of people within the Sunshine Coast of Queensland.

The participants involved within the events will have a profound feeling of importance, noticing that the events they are participating are being featured on a live broadcast.

It also allows for aspiring broadcasters to have a genuine platform to kick-start their journalism careers upon.

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