The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), along with all 18 first-class counties, are supporting Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign across 25 August-28 August.
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.”