Everton FC (aka the Blues) has been announced as the first football club to publicly support Stonewall‘s rainbow laces campaign to kick homophobia out of football.

So So Gay reported two days ago that the special rainbow coloured laces have been distributed to every footballer across all 134 professional clubs in the UK, with all 5,000 players being asked to wear the special laces on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 September.

The Blues’ captain Phil Jagielka and other members of the Everton first-team will be wearing rainbow laces in their boots for this weekend’s Premier League fixture against West Ham at Upton Park, to demonstrate their solidarity for fellow professionals who are gay.

Everton and England defender Jagielka said: ‘For me and the rest of the lads at Everton, a player’s sexuality is not important – but their ability on the pitch is.’

‘We don’t tolerate discrimination of any kind at Everton and the whole club works hard to get that message out to the fans. No one should feel that they can’t be themselves – on or off the pitch – so that is why we are supporting this initiative.’

The club points out on their website that discrimination is not tolerated at Goodison Park and that they operate a dedicated phone and text line for supporters to report any incidents of abuse. Through the club’s official charity, Everton in the Community, the Blues work with members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and, for the past two years, have supported and taken part in Liverpool’s Gay Pride event.