Having started on March 3rd and leading up to March 16th VFL Wolfsburg and their youth teams are celebrating Diversity Week to celebrate inclusion, acceptance and equality in the sport of football. This is the fourth annual Diversity Week organized by VFL Wolfsburg which has a long commitment of advocating for LGBT diversity and equality in football. Currently 65 teams of all ages and levels, including VFL Wolfsburg are participating with hope to see increased participation from teams with a goal of 650 participating from the German states of Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt.

“It confirms the importance of this theme, that so many clubs are joining us with a colorful message against discrimination. Football should be open to everyone. The large number of supporters shows that not only we see it that way, “said VfL CEO Michael Meeske

The goal of diversity week is to send a signal that diversity is important for the enrichment, not just for football but of society as a whole. Diversity Week will include a big football tournament organizes by Lebenshilfe Wolfsburg on March 8th, a FIFA19 tournament for refugee teams on March 13th, Workshops discussing homophobia and sexism in football throughout the city of Wolfsburg and a grand finale match on March 16th in the Volkswagen Arena.

In addition to Diversity Week. The Captains of VFL Wolfsburg and their partner teams are going to be wearing rainbow armbands during every game of the 2018-2019 season. Joshua Guilavogui, the captain of VFL Wolsfburg is a big supporter of the campaign and is proud to wear the rainbow. He shared…

“As footballers, we’re role models and we want to show with the rainbow symbol that everyone is welcome in our stadium and at our club. It doesn’t matter what colour your skin is, what gender you are, who you love, whether you’re disabled or what beliefs you have – football is there for everyone to enjoy. That’s what the rainbow represents and as a team, we’re fully behind this message.”

The campaign was started by athlete Nilla Fischer in March 2017 when she asked her club If she could wear the rainbow armband in all the Allianz Women’s Bundesliga and DFB Cup Games Her leadership inspired other VFL teams male and female, from the Under-10s to the VFL Wolfsburg to follow her lead.

“As a club we stand for a tolerant society,” commented VfL general manager Jörg Schmadtke. “That’s why we’re not only taking this stance against discrimination not only one match  but across the whole season and in all of our teams, sending out a clear signal that we stand for diversity.” 

In the past, VFL Wolfsburg have celebrated diversity and equality in football by lighting up the Volkswagen Arena in rainbow colors and organizing a “Streetkick Against Homophobia” in partnership with the city of Wolfsburg.

By Dirk Smith