Everton and technical partner hummel will collaborate to raise awareness for inclusivity in sport with a specially designed warm-up shirt at Goodison Park on Saturday.
The Blues will wear rainbow shirts for the warm-up ahead of our Premier League 2021/22 curtain-raiser against Southampton.
Our opponents, Saints - who are also sponsored by the Danish sportswear giant - will don the same tops, while Everton Women are set to wear them when they face Brighton & Hove Albion in a pre-season friendly on Sunday.
The initiative to support the fight for diversity and inclusivity in professional football is part of the hummel's wider backing for Copenhagen 2021 World Pride and the EuroGames celebration.
The shirts will be available to purchase on hummel.net from 8am on 11 August, while there will also be a limited number available on evertondirect.com and in store at Everton One.
Following the weekend’s fixtures, all warm-up shirts worn by the First Team and Women's players will be signed and auctioned on matchwornshirt.com.
Money raised from shirts worn by the Blues will support Everton in the Community's youth engagement programme, with a particular focus on delivering LGBTI+ awareness elements in primary and secondary schools.
Everton captain Seamus Coleman said: “As a club and a squad, we have long been committed to celebrating and promoting equality and diversity, not only in football but across society as a whole.
"It is so important we continue to create environments where people are able to be themselves and that we keep up the fight to eradicate prejudice.
"Evertonians will all be aware of the All Together Now campaign the Club has been running for the past three seasons and we’re delighted to join forces with hummel today to reiterate our support for the LGBTI+ community once again."
The rainbow warm-up shirts have been designed as a mash-up of all flags recognised by the LGBTI+ community and underpins #YouAreIncluded, which is the overall theme of Copenhagen 2021.
While many brave athletes have already paved the way for more inclusion in the world of sports, the fight is far from over. More than one in five LGBTI + people have experienced homophobia or transphobia, while a report from Kick It Out has revealed that reports of abuse based on sexual orientation in professional football have increased by 95 per cent in the past year.
That is why hummel has decided to launch a unique rainbow warm-up shirt in collaboration with three of its biggest football sponsorships - Everton, Southampton and Danish Superliga champions Brøndby IF - with the aim of raising awareness around the issue.
Allan Vad Nielsen, hummel’s CEO, said: "It requires a solid team effort to create positive change in sport and beyond, and that’s why we are extremely proud to spread the message of openness in the world of sports by combing three of our biggest football sponsorships with our Copenhagen 2021 sponsorship.
"Football and sport are for everyone, and it is important that we stand together in the balance. Over the past years we’ve supported several projects to promote inclusion in sports and we intend to continue to do so. Sport has a unique ability to connect people across nationalities, religions, cultures, and genders, and with this new rainbow design we want to bring together coaches, players, and fans from different clubs. Simply because we believe that we can only make a difference if we stand together as one team."