The importance of allyship and inclusivity were the focus of a panel discussion event at Old Trafford on 5th December. “One Love Live”, a collaboration between Manchester United, Adidas and Rainbow Devils, took place on the eve of United’s home Premier League clash against Chelsea, coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the launch of the Premier League’s Rainbow Laces campaign.
Panellists including Manchester United forward, Leah Galton, Britain’s most successful female boxer, Nicola Adams OBE, 5x Olympian and 8x world record holder competitive swimmer, Mark Foster, leading football journalist, Adam Crafton, Coronation Street actor, Antony Cotton MBE and our vice chair, Lindsey Parr discussed allyship, equality and inclusivity in sport as well as addressing the many challenges that still face LGBTQ+ sportspeople and supporters today.
The event is one of a series of projects by MUFC’s club media this year which have celebrated the diversity of United’s fan base and the importance of inclusivity in football. In August, Manchester United players from the mens’ and womens’ first team, as well as club staff and supporters, delivered a strong message about the importance of inclusivity and equality in sport during the Manchester Pride weekend, and the UTD Podcast also produced an episode examining the historic links between the city of Manchester, MUFC and the LGBTQ+ community.
Eric Najib, Rainbow Devils’ Chair, said “I am immensely proud of the feeling of inclusivity among United supporters. I am also proud of how far football has come in the past 10 or 20 years, but let’s not get complacent or think that there isn’t more to do.
“This season alone there have been high profile incidents of homophobia at Premier League grounds, and this is never acceptable. Education is key. We’ve got to think about our young fans as well. We want them to grow up in a world where we are all equal and I think when supporters engage in offensive chants it makes some of our fan base who are here to cheer on the team feel uncomfortable and not part of it.
“Events like tonight, which drive the conversation to uncomfortable places and provoke action and change are so important to continuing to make sure our game is open is for everyone.”
Rainbow Devils was proud to have been invited to take part and we’d like to say a big thank you to all the players, club staff and allies who have helped send a clear message that football should be for everyone and there’s no place for prejudice or discrimination in our game.