DARLINGTON Football Club will celebrate the local LGBTQ+ community through its first ever Rainbow Laces Day next weekend.

The Quakers will take on AFC Fylde on December 11 and has been chosen due to its proximity to Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces Day on Wednesday, December 8.

Each year, Rainbow Laces Day celebrates the impact that sport has on LGBTQ+ people, and the impact that LGBTQ+ people have on sport, allowing clubs and associations to consider how they can improve. 

As a fan-owned, community-based club, Darlington Football Club said it is "committed to equality, diversity and inclusion". 

Read more: What Pride means to one of the volunteers behind Darlington Pride Weekender

A statement added: "The role that we play in the lives of many different groups of people across the town and wider region cannot be underestimated and it provides interest, passion and enjoyment for thousands of supporters.

"People are the lifeblood of the club, regardless of their individual backgrounds or personal circumstances. We actively promote equality, diversity and inclusion in all our behaviours, practices and values at Darlington Football Club.

"We aim, therefore, to bring people together through football in a way that supports positive change, makes people feel valued and improves the lives and inclusive experience of our fans and wider community.

"On this basis, the club is a proud supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, and the fantastic work Stonewall does in this area."

A series of initiatives and events will be held to allow the club to embrace the diversity of its fan base and town at Blackwell Meadows.

Both Darlington men's and women's teams will wear rainbow laces, as well as team captains – Will Hatfield and Toni Upton – wearing rainbow armbands. 

Popular local drag queen Miss Ann Bag will help host the day by appearing on the PA during our half-time ‘Spot to Spot’ competition and handing out rainbow flags, badges and stickers around the ground with our very own Mr Q.

Local Pride and LGBTQ+ groups will also be present on the day, both with stalls around Blackwell Meadows and in the hospitality section.

The club added: "In the week leading up to the game, we will hear from club players and officials as well as from fans themselves, on why this event and our support of the LGBTQ+ community is so important.

"The last two years have been like no other for everyone and it’s now more important than ever that we raise awareness and support the LGBTQ+ community. 

"Together or apart, online or on the pitch, we need to build on our work in the community to make football everyone’s game."

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