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EFL and Puma unveil rainbow ball for LGBT+ History Month

A football with pride colours on it sits on a grass pitch
EFL and PUMA's raimbow ball (Image: EFL)

The English Football League (EFL) and the official match ball providers PUMA have created football’s first rainbow match ball to mark LGBT+ history month.

It will be used by all 72 clubs in the Sky Bet Championship, League 1 and League 2 for fixtures between Friday 16 February and Saturday 24 February.

Making its debut at the Hawthorns as West Bromwich Albion take on Southampton FC in the Championship, the PUMA ORBITA ball features the Pride and Progress Pride flag colours, symbolising the idea that football is for everyone.

The ball follows in the footsteps of other pro-LGBTQ+ initiatives in football such as Kick It Out, Rainbow Laces, and Football v Homophobia

However, when EFL clubs shared the news, some fans took to social media to lambast the ball’s inclusive design.

Under a Facebook post made by Championship club Blackburn Rovers, comments claimed the ball was “pushing all this woke nonsense” and “ramming it down the throats of fans”.

“Football is a sport for everyone” – Chris Lofthouse, Proud Rovers chair

Chris Lofthouse, chair of LGBTQ+ supporters group Proud Rovers, told Attitude in response: “While we anticipate such backlash when campaigns promoting inclusivity are launched, it’s important to recognise that these comments are not valid and should not go unchallenged.

“Football is a sport for everyone, and it’s frustrating to hear people claim that discussions about inclusivity and acceptance are ‘political.”

Talking about the ball, Chris added: “The introduction of the Pride PUMA ball is a significant milestone, symbolising progress towards a more inclusive football culture.

“It signifies a step in the right direction, but it’s important for the EFL to continue striving for greater inclusivity and representation within the sport.”.

According to a 2022 yougov poll, which followed the coming out of then-17-year-old Blackpool FC player and winner of the Gamechanger Award at the 2023 Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards, Jake Daniels, showed that over half of Britons and football fans believe homophobia to be an issue in football.

The post EFL and Puma unveil rainbow ball for LGBT+ History Month appeared first on Attitude.