Coventry City FC to be one of first teams to play with LBGTQ+ match ball - The Coventry Observer

Coventry City FC to be one of first teams to play with LBGTQ+ match ball

Coventry Editorial 16th Feb, 2024   0

COVENTRY City Football Club will be one of the first teams to play with a new EFL match ball designed for LGBTQ+ History Month.

The ball designed by the league’s official partner, PUMA, features a rainbow design and will be used by all 72 clubs across the Sky Bet Chmpionship, League One and Two in matches from February 16 to 24.

The PUMA ORBITA Rainbow Ball design includes the rainbow and progress colours, symbolising that football is for everyone and representing the League’s active support for inclusion throughout the game.

For every goal scored with the Rainbow Ball across the Championship, League One and League Two PUMA will make a donation to an LGBTQ+ Fans for Diversity Fund.

The money raised will be utilised to support LGBTQ+ supporters and their projects which may include initiatives to raise awareness about inclusion in football, events promoting diversity, or providing resources for LGBTQ+ fans within the football community.

EFL partners will also show their support for the campaign, with Title Partners Sky Bet donating an allocation of PUMA ORBITA Rainbow Balls to LGBTQ+ friendly community football clubs and fans, while EA SPORTS FC 24™ players will be able to use the Rainbow Ball in gameplay from February 15.

EFL Chief Executive Officer, Trevor Birch said:

“The League is proud to collaborate with PUMA on this historic first for English football and join with our Clubs, partners, and LGBTQ+ communities to celebrate LGBT History Month.

“We want the Rainbow Ball to be a catalyst for opening conversations and raising awareness and understanding of the issues affecting the LGBTQ+ communityas we work to make the game truly inclusive and representative of society.”

EFL Director of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, David McArdle added:

“The Rainbow Ball is a symbol that everyone should feel welcome at football and represents the EFL’s commitment to the LGBTQ+ community to changing the game and society for the better.”

Bas van den Bemt, UKI Managing Director, PUMA Group said:

“PUMA and the EFL are both champions of inclusivity, and we are delighted that our new Rainbow Ball celebrates this partnership in such a visible and impactful way.

“The Rainbow Ball is not just a piece of sports equipment; it signifies progress and aspiration and we are delighted that each goal scored with the Rainbow Ball in the EFL will raise money to support Fans for Diversity and continue to raise awareness of inclusion and promote diversity in football.”

Ryan Atkin, England’s first openly gay professional official, added:

“The Rainbow Ball is a powerful emblem of diversity, pride, hope and activism. It demonstrates that football recognises its status and impact on society and that it acts on all forms of discrimination, ensuring everyone can be part of the beautiful game.

“I feel very proud that my colleagues and I will be the first people to handle the ball, as we bring it across the white line ready for kick off.”

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