Rainbow Laces In Focus: Mersey Marauders
Liverpool County FA is proud to support Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign, which campaigns for LGBT+ equality and inclusion within sport.
Between November 22 and December 8, all levels of the game will be showing their backing to the campaign, with Liverpool County FA’s affiliated leagues, clubs and volunteers all getting involved.
As we mark the Rainbow Laces weeks of action, Liverpool County FA highlights clubs, individuals and activities that are joining the Association in campaigning for LGBTQ+ equality and inclusion within the beautiful game.
There’s a very strong chance that you’ve heard of Mersey Marauders and for good reason.
One of the country’s leading gay football clubs, Mersey Marauders have not only enjoyed great success on the pitch; their work away from it to provide an opportunity for gay and bisexual supporters to play football in an inclusive, accepting environment has been praised widely.
Today, the club continues to lead the way in highlighting inclusion, with Club Secretary, Paul Williams, becoming Liverpool County FA’s Rainbow Laces Ambassador this year.
“We were formed in 2005 by Steve Hess, with the aim of gauging interest in a social group and to promote health and fitness for gay and bisexual football supporters within the football mecca that is Liverpool and the surrounding areas,” explained Paul.
After a spell playing in national 5-a-side tournaments, by 2008 the club has expanded into 11-a-side football.
“In 2008, when Liverpool was named European Capital of Culture, we were voted to host the Gay Football Supporters Network (GFSN) summer tournament,” said Paul. “Since then, we’ve gone from strength to strength, competing in the GFSN National League and Cup, in which we’ve enjoyed success. We train weekly and take part in national social events. However, we’re strong advocates of raising awareness of LGBTQ+ issues in sport and support the Football vs Homophobia movement.”
This year is an exciting one, as Mersey Marauders will be hosting the 30th anniversary GFSN Summer Get Together; a 7-a-side tournament and celebration held at Liverpool’s town hall. This event will be attended by clubs across Great Britain and supporters from the football/LGBTQ+ family.
“The Rainbow Laces campaign brings a great deal of awareness, not only on the issues faced by the LGBTQ+ network playing football, but the many supporters who watch and attend games across the country,” said Paul.
“Whilst great strides have been made in challenging homophobia in the game, inherent attitudes remain in some quarters – and Rainbow Laces allows organisations such as ours to promote our need for existence, our experiences, and to have our say on how the game can kick homophobia out of football. With a lack of representation within the men’s professional game, it is up to groups like ourselves, The FA and media outlets to challenge homophobia on and off the field.”
Liverpool County FA is incredibly proud of the work being carried out by Mersey Marauders and the way they are providing opportunities for individuals to play football in a comfortable environment.
“Liverpool County FA have been a great supporter of Mersey Marauders,” said Paul. “It highlights the approach from The FA to reach out and include underrepresented groups in recent times. However, the input from the County FA’s Football Development Officers, including Steve Swinnerton, has been key. They have listened and recognised the support that we need to develop the game for our members – and have helped us bridge the gap with the community. It’s brought us closer to the wider football family.”
For more information on the Rainbow Laces campaign, please click here
Alternatively, please visit merseymaraudersfc.co.uk for more information on Mersey Marauders Football Club.