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21 September 2013, 08:58
Sunderland AFC has confirmed that they will not be taking part in the 'rainbow laces' campaign by anti-homophobia charity Stonewall.
They join Manchester United, Spurs, Norwich and Southampton will not participate in the initiative.
The clubs have said they don't feel comfortable that the campaign, called 'Right Behind Gay Footballers', has been widely backed by betting company Paddy Power.
There's also frustrations that the first they knew of the campaign was when the laces were sent to them earlier this week.
In a statement, the Black Cats say:
"The underlying message behind this campaign is a very positive one and something we as a club wholeheartedly support.
However, we were not entirely comfortable with the third party commercial link to this initiative and were also disappointed that there was no prior consultation with clubs as we could have offered useful input.
We are speaking with Stonewall directly to look at ways in which we can work together on this important issue. We want to engage with players, fans and football as a whole to promote inclusion and offer tangible support."
These discussions will build on the club's already existing links with organisations such as Northern Pride and its involvement in IDAHO, which saw the rainbow flag flying at the Stadium of Light this year.