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EFL and Puma team up to launch football's first ever rainbow ball

14 February 2024

Club News

EFL and Puma team up to launch football's first ever rainbow ball

14 February 2024

The English Football League (EFL) and Official Match Ball partners, PUMA are proud to mark LGBTQ+ History Month by unveiling the very first Rainbow match ball which will be used by all 72 Clubs across Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two matches from February 16-24.

The PUMA ORBITA Rainbow Ball design includes the rainbow and progress colours, symbolising that football is for everyone and representing the League’s active support for inclusion throughout the game.

For every goal scored with the Rainbow Ball across the Championship, League One and League Two PUMA will make a donation to an LGBTQ+ Fans for Diversity Fund. The money raised will be utilised to support LGBTQ+ supporters and their projects which may include initiatives to raise awareness about inclusion in football, events promoting diversity, or providing resources for LGBTQ+ fans within the football community.  

EFL partners will also show their support for the campaign, with Title Partners Sky Bet donating an allocation of PUMA ORBITA Rainbow Balls to LGBTQ+ friendly community football clubs and fans, while EA SPORTS FC 24™ players will be able to use the Rainbow Ball in gameplay from February 15. 

EFL Chief Executive Officer, Trevor Birch said: “The League is proud to collaborate with PUMA on this historic first for English football and join with our Clubs, partners, and LGBTQ+ communities to celebrate LGBT History Month. 

“We want the Rainbow Ball to be a catalyst for opening conversations and raising awareness and understanding of the issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community as we work to make the game truly inclusive and representative of society.”

EFL Director of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, David McArdle added: “The Rainbow Ball is a symbol that everyone should feel welcome at football and represents the EFL’s commitment to the LGBTQ+ community to changing the game and society for the better.”

Bas van den Bemt, UKI Managing Director, PUMA Group said: “PUMA and the EFL are both champions of inclusivity, and we are delighted that our new Rainbow Ball celebrates this partnership in such a visible and impactful way.

“The Rainbow Ball is not just a piece of sports equipment; it signifies progress and aspiration and we are delighted that each goal scored with the Rainbow Ball in the EFL will raise money to support Fans for Diversity and continue to raise awareness of inclusion and promote diversity in football.”

Ryan Atkin, England’s first openly gay professional official, added: “The Rainbow Ball is a powerful emblem of diversity, pride, hope and activism. It demonstrates that football recognises its status and impact on society and that it acts on all forms of discrimination, ensuring everyone can be part of the beautiful game.

“I feel very proud that my colleagues and I will be the first people to handle the ball, as we bring it across the white line ready for kick off.”

For more information on the EFL’s equality, diversity, and inclusion initiatives, visit www.efl.com/inclusion

 

Editor’s Note:

Ball Specification

  • As a match ball, the PUMA ORBITA EFL Rainbow Ball football offers a unique configuration of 12 large star-shaped panels which results in a reduced number of seams. The ORBITA uses state-of-the-art technology to create the optimal sphere that maintains its shape and allows for less water absorption.
  • PUMA have developed, tested and modified the new ORBITA to create a ball that will perform at the highest level. The new 12 star-shaped panel configuration results in the optimal sphere to allow for better connection on the ball
  • With a limited product range available to purchase at JD Sports, Sports Direct and Pro Direct outlets, the PUMA ORBITA Rainbow Ball is the latest initiative supporting LGBTQ+ communities embarked upon by the multinational sports brand.

 

EFL Together

  • The EFL’s Together’ strategy set out a clear five-year vision for the EFL and its Clubs to reflect and represent the communities they serve.
  • Together comprises five pillars: Support, Educate, Communicate, Embed and Listen
  • Objectives of the strategy include:
  1. Ensuring the workforce is representative and reflective of the communities EFL Clubs represent
  2. Improving the diversity of supporters attending EFL matches
  3. Challenging discrimination and behaviour, both in the stands and on social media
  4. Establishing a path for continual EDI developments for Clubs
  5. Improving the understanding of EDI across the game

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