The Italian national team will wear colourful laces for a cause, when they take the pitch on Wednesday, in a friendly match against Spain.
In an effort to fight homophobia, the Azurri will lace up their boots with rainbow-coloured laces at Vicente Calderon Stadium in Madrid.
The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) made the announcement on Friday, following in the footsteps of Bologna's Davide Moscardelli and Cagliari's Daniele Dessena, who have both been targets of social-media abuse for wearing rainbow laces in support of fighting homophobia.
The Federation said in a statement, via Forza Italian Football:
The FIGC and national team come together...and adhere to the anti-homophobia campaign created by Paddy Power and re-launched on the occasion of Candido Day [named after the Gazzetta dello Sport's former editor Candido Cavano].
By joining the campaign against homophobia, represented with the rainbow laces, the FICG and Azzurri continue what has already been done before in relation to social responsibility through awareness campaigns against racism, violence against women, doping, illegal betting and numerous projects at the side of the most important national and international foundations.
FIGC President Giancarlo Abete said, per the same report:
Through this choice, we want to reiterate the sensitivity and civil commitment of Italian football, particularly athletes and coach who represent the Azzurra shirt, through concrete acts that observe the social values that sport should be about and in which we strongly believe in.
The announcement comes shortly after Landon Donovan subtly showed his support for gay Major League Soccer teammate Robbie Rogers.
Landon Donovan shows support for his gay teammate Robbie Rogers. Respect. pic.twitter.com/326V0CW7ef— Bleacher Report UK (@br_uk) February 28, 2014