Former professional player and current broadcaster, Scott Minto, has spoken of the importance of the EFL's work to promote inclusion, with Clubs continuing to back the Rainbow Laces campaign.
As part of the EFL’s ‘Not Today or Any Day’ campaign, which aims to raise further awareness of the zero-tolerance approach to discrimination, the League and its Clubs will be involved in specific activity, taking place between Friday 4 December and Sunday 13 December.
Speaking exclusively to the EFL ahead of the midweek fixtures, Minto says the campaign is vital in terms of getting the message out there.
“I think it’s massively important," he said. "We’re in a world right now that’s trying to be caring and thoughtful and it’s important that we’re all treated equally. I think we’re one of the most tolerant and thoughtful countries in the world and football reflects that. I think it’s important to keep hammering home the message that there will be zero tolerance when it comes to discrimination in any form. The Rainbow Laces campaign is a big part of that.
“I like to think I’m an open and tolerant person and I’m right behind campaigns like these. When I look at the Rainbow Laces campaign, I love the colours; I think it’s catchy and eye-catching; I think the message of total inclusion is great. I know people who are gay, I have someone in my family who is gay, but I think that’s irrelevant. It’s about being open to everyone in society, because we’re all different, but we’re also the same.
“It should be on an individual basis too, but it’s important that organisations like the EFL get the message out there and raise awareness. The EFL is a fantastic organisation in everything it does, and I think it’s harder to be a part of the EFL than the Premier League because of the wide spectrum of 72 Clubs. For the EFL to do what it’s doing, I think it’s fantastic. The amount of people that are following EFL Clubs is huge, and so the work of the EFL is critical. Not all organisations do the right thing, but the EFL is doing the right thing.
“I think it’s important to highlight issues as much as possible and it’s also important to make an impact and keep it in people’s minds. What the EFL and football as a whole are doing is great; football is the most popular sport in the world and leads the way in many things, and I think we’re leading the way in many campaigns."
Clubs up and down the country are continuing to use the power of sport for good when it comes to the issue of inclusion, and Minto believes football's part in effecting positive change is a crucial one.
“There’s no doubt about it, kids look up to footballers," he added. "Football is the most popular sport in this country and I think the role it plays cannot be underestimated, because there are impressionable youngsters seeing how organisations and players conduct themselves. Football shouldn’t lead the way in society, but I think it leads the way for sport in society.
“Once the first current player comes out, I think there will be others. When the time comes, and it will, I think the dressing room would embrace it, 100 per cent. I think it would have done back in my day, and it definitely would now. It’s a shame that people feel they can’t come out, but there’s a lot of pressure on the person to do that. I think that, once a player comes out, they’ll lead the way for many others, and I hope it’s sooner rather than later.
“We live in a world that I believe is very tolerant and, speaking to people who have come out, they’re very thankful they did. I’d say be honest, be yourself, and I think you’d be surprised by the reaction of the people around you and people you don’t know. Ultimately, that’s all we can be. Everyone is different, and everyone must make the decision when they are ready, that’s crucial.”