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United, Spurs Won't Support Gay Rights Initiative

Premier League clubs from Manchester United to Tottenham Hotspur have been left frustrated by the way gay rights charity Stonewall launched a campaign to raise awareness about homophobia in English soccer without consulting them. Stonewall teamed up with betting firm Paddy Power to send rainbow-colored laces to all 92 professional clubs in England, plus 42 in Scotland, that would be worn this weekend in support of gay soccer players.

However, the Premier League is upset that it wasn’t consulted about the initiative. In fact, United, Spurs, Sunderland, Norwich and Southampton have confirmed that they will not be taking part in the campaign.

"Whilst the campaign message is positive and one we support, there was unfortunately no prior consultation with ourselves, the Premier League or other clubs,” Spurs said in a statement. "Such consultation would have enabled us to avoid issues in respect of associated third-party commercial entities. We have contacted Stonewall directly and let them know that we are supportive and keen to discuss ways in which we can work together going forward."

Other clubs, like Fulham and Arsenal, are allowing their players to wear the laces at their discretion. "I am personally against [homophobia], for me that is linked with racism, every single week you could find a reason to fight against it," Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger said. "It's a kind of racism and that should all be included in the fight against racism. In our club everybody is free to have his own opinion of these kind of things."

Read the whole story at Daily Telegraph »

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