Russia’s London embassy was flying the Rainbow flag over the weekend, with a message championing its country’s donations to the LGBT+ community during this year’s World Cup.
Paddy Power, creators of the ‘Rainbow Russians’ campaign launched at the start of the World Cup, has been donating to an LGBT+ charity fund for every Russian goal scored.
— Attitude (@AttitudeMag) July 7, 2018
The campaign has seen over £130,000 donated to the Attitude Magazine Foundation for LGBT+ causes.
Have we seen a turn in the road for Russia’s terrible LGBT+ rights record? Perhaps, as last night the Russian embassy in London was seen flying the Rainbow flag.
All may not be as it seems – as Paddy Power have forced Russia’s hand and given the host nation the send-off it deserves, by projecting the LGBT+ Rainbow Pride flag on its London embassy.
The Russian Embassy in London flew a Rainbow Flag last night, to mark their exit from the World Cup on Pride weekend. Sort of. Naughty boys and girl at @paddypower saying goodbye to a campaign that raised £170k for the @AttitudeMag Foundation… ?? #RainbowRussians pic.twitter.com/ymODsCb57B
— Darren Styles OBE (@bydarrenstyles) July 8, 2018
The projected message read: “We’re out! But we scored thousands for LGBT+ causes. From Russia with Equal Love”.
For every goal (and own goal) the host nation scored during the tournament, Paddy Power pledged £10,000 to fund a number of causes dedicated to making football more LGBT+ inclusive.
That pledge was doubled for Russia’s knockout stage matches to £20,000 per goal. After knocking Spain out in the last 16, they fell foul to Croatia. But, the host nation’s goals raised over £130,000 for LGBT+ causes in the process.
The #RainbowRussians campaign has seen Paddy Power work with the Attitude Magazine Foundation, where the donations will:
- Challenge LGBT+ prejudice on and off the field
- Support footballers and those in the game coming out
- Fund educational programmes in schools and colleges
- Make grass-roots teams safe spaces for LGBT+ players
Spokesman, Paddy Power said:
“We never thought we’d be sad to see them out, but we’re so glad Russia has finally acknowledged and celebrated the incredible impact they have made on the LGBT+ community at this year’s World Cup. It must have taken a lot for them to finally swallow their pride, come out and champion their donations.
“Hopefully, we’ve helped them realise the errors of their ways in years gone by and, perhaps, in future they will respect and embrace the LGBT+ community. Of course, we will be on hand if they ever need another nudge in the right direction…
“We’re also incredibly proud to say that, due to Russia’s success at this World Cup, not only have we donated over £130,000, but also given the Russian football team a whole new LGBT+ fan base. Long may it continue!”
Darren Styles OBE, the publisher of Attitude magazine, said:
“From first to last Paddy Power’s #RainbowRussians has been an inspiring campaign to be part of – a positive, uplifting and constructive approach to a set of circumstances that are far from ideal for the LGBT+ community.
“The award process of this World Cup tournament to Russia (where LGBT+ people are routinely hunted, abducted, assaulted and even murdered), and the next to Qatar (where homosexuality is illegal and punishable by imprisonment), was an international outrage that saw FIFA officials fired, prosecuted and jailed for bribery.
“And we don’t have to forget that when the football starts – as this campaign has demonstrated. We can engage, participate and educate while co-opting the host nation to play for us every bit as much as they play for their country. Which is hilarious.
“The money the Russian team has unwittingly earned the Attitude Magazine Foundation thanks to Paddy Power’s generosity and genius will deliver a legacy of more LGBT+ players, coaches and match officials. And for that, we salute the #RainbowRussians!”
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