Surrey County Cricket Club are supporting Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign that runs this weekend (25-28 August).
Whilst Surrey aren’t in action this weekend, the Club previously showed their commitment to inclusivity in cricket by dedicating a Vitality Blast match to the Pride Movement and the LGBTQ+ community. Surrey’s group stage match against Kent Spitfires was presented alongside Proud Surrey – cricket’s first official LGBTQ+ supporters’ group in the UK.
The ‘Proud Surrey T20’ match saw Pride branding carried around the ground including the Pride flag flying above the iconic Micky Stewart Members’ Pavilion. There were opportunities for the crowd to support local LGBTQ+ charities and organisations as well as support from Surrey’s corporate partners. The Club will continue to work with Proud Surrey to demonstrate support for the LGBTQ+ community next year.
Proud Surrey have also been instrumental in setting up ‘Pride in Cricket’, the first LGBTQ+ England Cricket supporters’ group.
Steve Elworthy, Chief Executive at Surrey CCC, said: “At Surrey, we believe that cricket is for everyone and want people to feel like they can be their true selves when they join us at The Kia Oval.
“We were delighted to host the Proud Surrey T20 in July and we’re looking forward to continuing to work with them to ensure that Surrey continues to offer all fans a warm welcome.”
About Rainbow Laces weekend
It is the fifth time the game has come together to celebrate and encourage LGBTQ+ participation in cricket. The campaign will run across Royal London Cup quarter-finals, The Hundred and – and for the first time – the England Men’s LV= Insurance Test match against South Africa at Emirates Old Trafford.
As well as laces being shared with all professional players participating across the weekend, they have been made available to a selection of recreational cricket clubs across the country alongside an activation pack to help clubs mark the weekend and show their support. Over 200 clubs have been in touch to request their own Rainbow Laces activation pack.
Rainbow Laces messaging will feature at all professional games across the weekend, alongside branded stumps and a presence on the big screen, and every cricket club in the country has been equipped with social media graphics to help show their support online.
This year’s Rainbow Laces campaign comes after the formation of a new national supporters’ group, Pride in Cricket, who have been working with the ECB to create a community in the game for LGBTQ+ players and supporters.
The game’s support of Rainbow Laces forms part of the ECB’s continued commitment to Raising The Game; a new overarching platform for advancing equity, diversity and inclusion within cricket.
ECB Interim Chief Executive Officer Clare Connor said: “It’s vital that the game continues to demonstrate that it is for everyone. Campaigns such as this are about actively supporting participation and inclusivity in cricket for everyone in society.
“Sport has such a power and much of our work in cricket is about bringing communities together. Rainbow Laces helps to show that we want to be a sport for everyone.”
England Men’s cricketer Joe Root said: “It’s great to support a campaign like Rainbow Laces.
“Cricket needs to be for everyone, and as players we need to keep doing our bit to demonstrate that we believe in that – that we want everyone to feel included and welcome in our sport.”
England Women’s cricketer Lauren Winfield-Hill said: “I was lucky enough that I always felt able to play cricket as a young girl, but that isn’t always the case for everyone, and we need to work hard to lower the hurdles so that everyone is able to access cricket.
“The statistics demonstrate that an overly high percentage of LGBTQ+ people feel less welcome in sport, whether that be as participants or supporters, and we need to help change that. Rainbow Laces can play an important role in demonstrating to all LGBTQ+ people that cricket wants to welcome them with open arms.”