Lucky Generals and Stonewall reunite to “Lace up to keep it up” with rainbow laces

Nine years ago Lucky Generals created "rainbow laces" for Stonewall. Now, Stonewall has reunited with the creative agency to create a campaign aimed at reminding people that while Rainbow Laces continues to change the game, we haven’t won it yet. Stepping up its campaigning and shedding more light on this issue in the run-up to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar — and the host nation’s well-documented persecution of LGBTQI+ people, ban of rainbow flags and other scandals. 

Just the other day a prominent Qatar journalist, Abdulla Alemadi, claimed Qatar is “not honored to welcome such abnormal ideas and tendencies” and that he is looking forward to watching a “clean sporting event without homosexuals”.



Abdulla Alemadi's now deleted tweet.

So while top UK diplomats tell LGBTQ fans to ‘be respectful’ in Qatar, which was met with protests, fears have grown that there may be a crackdown on LGBTQ fans who might kiss in public and show other signs of affection, or worse *gasp* rainbow flags.  Hence this is a ripe time to revive the rainbow laces. 

Named “Lace up to keep it up” the new work features a number of executions using clever plays on classic football idioms and phrases to drive the point home. These include “Let’s boot the homophobes off the park”, “Let’s give homophobia a career-ending tackle” and “Let’s send homophobia for an early bath”.

"Let's not bottle it now"

With new research from Stonewall and ICM/Walnut has revealed that the number of fans who think homophobic remarks within sport are acceptable has almost halved in the past five years, new research from Stonewall and ICM/Walnut has revealed, with a drop from 25 percent in 2017 to 14 percent in 2022. But 31 years since Justin Fashanu came out as the first gay male professional footballer, Blackpool’s Jake Daniels remains the only player comfortable enough to come out in the current game.


Other statistics from the research reveal that just 40 percent of sports fans think competitive sport is welcoming for gay and bi men, with the figure at 43 percent for lesbian and bi women, and just 29 percent for trans people.


The creative below went live on Wednesday, October 26 via Stonewall’s social channels.


Lucky Generals helped create the original Rainbow Laces Campaign in 2013 alongside Irish betting giants Paddy Power. The initiative was developed as a way for Stonewall to drive awareness for its mission of changing attitudes towards LGBTQI+ people in sports. 2023 marks not only year 10 of Rainbow Laces but also the 10th anniversary for Lucky Generals, with purpose at their core it’s a fantastic time for them to unite on this particular mission.

Robbie de Santos, the Director of Communications and External Affairs at Stonewall says: “We’ve made incredible strides with the Stonewall Rainbow Laces in the UK since Paddy Power and Lucky Generals created the campaign in 2013. With the eyes of the world turning to the Men’s Football World Cup in Qatar and hate crime against LGBTQ+ people in the UK rising at a rapid pace, the time is right to remind people that while we’ve made amazing progress, we can’t be complacent. We still need to lace up again and show our support. Going back to Lucky Generals, where it all started, was the perfect way to get this message out.”


Chloe Davies, Head of Social Impact at Lucky Generals said: “Rainbow Laces was a game-changer, not only for Stonewall but to the many LGBTQI+ folk around the globe this initiative has helped to feel safe, seen and supported within sports. It's brilliant to be able to pick up the mantle, refresh the messaging and continue the great work started so many years ago.”  

"This is a must-win game"

Creative agency: Lucky Generals

Client: Stonewall 

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