Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud takes part in the Rainbow Laces TV campaign to stamp out homophobia in football
Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud takes part in the Rainbow Laces TV campaign to stamp out homophobia in footballPaddy Power

QPR midfielder Joey Barton, Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta and England midfielder Fabian Delph will wear rainbow laces in support of stamping out homophobia in football.

Arsenal showed their support for Stonewall and Paddy Power's campaign in a TV advert. The north London club's players who will wear rainbow laces include Per Mertesacker, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski in Saturday's game.

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud takes part in the Rainbow Laces TV campaign, cheekily spraying fake tan on his body before winking at the camera and saying: "I can't change that I am gorgeous."

The FA issued a statement saying: "Like that of the Rainbow Laces campaign, the FA's message is simple: homophobia, like all forms of discrimination, is unacceptable."

100,000 rainbow laces distributed

Joey Barton, QPR's midfielder told the Metro: "The key is getting the message out to the public that us lads are supportive of fellow pros and supporters, no matter what their sexual orientation."

More than 100,000 pairs of rainbow laces were distributed by Stonewall across the UK. Arsenal underground station will also feature a rainbow-coloured crossing.

James Taylor from Stonewall said: "This weekend football players and clubs up and down the country are lacing up to show their support for kicking homophobia out of football.

"We're delighted to have the support of Arsenal, Manchester City, the backing of the Premier League, the FA and many others this weekend to help raise awareness of homophobia in football and the need to tackle it."

Last year, players from 52 clubs across the country laced up to support gay players, and with more than 320 million Tweets, it became one of the most successful social media campaigns in the UK to date.

The initiative, backed by Stonewall, Europe's biggest charity campaigning for lesbian, gay and bisexual equality, and the Gay Football Supporter's Network, encourages footballers to wear multi-coloured laces to send out the message anti-gay abuse will not be tolerated.

Former Aston Villa player Thomas Hitzlsperger revealed he is gay earlier this year after retiring from football.

"I want to show that being gay and a professional footballer is something that's normal," he said.

"The perceived contradiction between playing football, the man's game, and being homosexual is nonsense."

There are currently no openly gay footballers in the English and Scottish professional leagues.