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Paddy Power and Commbus promote Premier equality

Paddy Power, with help from the sign and print industry, is making it a safer place for Premier League footballers to potentially come out as openly gay.

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The open top bus was wrapped and designed by Birmingham-based Commbus

This weekend marked the Brighton Pride parade, where Paddy Power used an open top bus, specially wrapped in the colours of the rainbow – the universal flag of the LGBTQ+ community, to mark the occasion. The stunt is to highlight that none of the 500 players currently in the Premier League identify as openly gay or bisexual, which is why the bus will be empty.

The bookmaker is hoping to create an environment in which any of the footballers that may be gay or a member of the LGBTQ+ community feel safe enough to come out. The bus features slogans such as ‘Official bus of gay professional footballers’ and ‘Come out and play’.

For us it’s about starting a conversation, getting it out there, and say ‘hey guys let’s take a look at ourselves and take a hard look at the league, is it because there aren’t any gay players or is it because of the culture of the league?’. That’s what we want

Commbus, based in Birmingham, produced the design and wrapped the bus for the campaign. It is not the first time that Paddy Power has focused on the rights of the LGBT+ community, with previous campaigns involving rainbow laces on football boots.

Alex Katz of Officer and Gentleman PR, the company that worked on the campaign for Paddy Power, explains that the idea is to start a conversation that could lead to something more, even if the campaign does not lead directly to players coming out. He explains exclusively to SignLink: “We’re an agency called Officer and Gentleman and we’re actually based in Madrid, but we work with a lot of international clients. We’ve been working with Paddy Power, which has done a lot of things in this area to do with gay rights and fighting against homophobia.

“They did a really big campaign during the World Cup where every time Russia scored, they donated £10,000 to LGBTQ+ charities.”

The campaign hopes to start a conversation within The Premier League

Katz continues: “There has always been this kind of overt homophobia in sport, especially sports like football. It’s 2018, we should all be over it and we should all be accepting but there still seems to be that stigma.”

In terms of the reaction from the public and football fans, Katz says: “We’ve seen a very positive reaction, which is great. We’ve had people say that they have stopped in their tracks after seeing the ad and once they’ve read it, really liked the initiative.

“For us it’s about starting a conversation, getting it out there, and say ‘hey guys let’s take a look at ourselves and take a hard look at the league, is it because there aren’t any gay players or is it because of the culture of the league?’. That’s what we want.”



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