Southampton Football Club launch LGBTQ+ fan group in a bid to make football more inclusive

WATCH: Video report by ITV Meridian's Mel Bloor

Southampton Football Club have launched a dedicated LGBTQ+ supporters' group as part of their efforts to make football a more inclusive sport.

'Rainbow Saints' hopes to enhance the experience for fans, regardless of their sexuality.

The group kicked off its mission by teaming up with the club's official kit supplier, hummel, to launch its No place for homophobia in Southampton campaign. 

They've commissioned a striking mural in the city centre to champion their support for the LGBTQ+ community, calling on players, fans, and city residents to pledge their name in support.

The mural commissioned by Southampton Football Club in the city centre

Southampton Football Club's Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Robert Pearce, said: "For us as a football club, we want to provide a space for anyone who wants to interact with football to do so and it's really trying to make a stance that there really is no place for homophobia in Southampton.

"We asked people in the community, our supporters, our players as well, to join us in making this pledge."

The collaboration also saw hummel design a bespoke warm-up shirt worn ahead of a match against Everton.

The shirts have since been auctioned off, raising over £12,500 for the Saints Foundation to provide LGBTQ+ awareness classes in local schools.

Oriel Romeu wearing the specially designed warm-up shirt ahead of a match against Everton

A new range of t-shirts is due to be released in the coming weeks, with profits also helping to fund Saints Foundation's LGBTQ+ outreach programme in schools. 

Sarah Batters, Southampton FC Director of Marketing and Partnerships, said: "We're proud to be standing alongside our fans and hummel by making a powerful statement in the city to show our support for the LGBTQ+ people."

> Sport Republic acquires ownership of Southampton Football Club

> Southampton FC launch new eco-friendly away kit