FARE partner Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion campaign, marks the start of the One Game, One Community weeks of action this Thursday 15 October, with a clarion call from Fabio Capello.
The England boss is asking fans, players, clubs and community groups from the grassroots to the England team to join him in supporting 1000 events taking place during a fortnight long period to highlight diversity, equality and anti-discrimination across football.
Football is more than a sport. It is a phenomenon with an international language all of its own, said Capello.
The One Game, One Community weeks of action shows all that is good about football. Our ability to work and live together and break down barriers should never be underestimated.
Home fixtures at each of the 92 Premier and Football League clubs will be dedicated to the One Game, One Community message as schools, community groups and fans take up the message with their own projects.
Professional footballers will be wearing Kick It Out t-shirts and many will be acting as ambassadors for the period. Aston Villa’s Ashley Young, Chelsea’s Michael Essien, West Ham’s Jack Collison and Tottenham’s Robbie Keane will all be representing their clubs during October.
Manchester United ambassador John O’Shea said:
When Manchester United play football we play together as a team, our backgrounds don’t come into it. People are discriminated against for many different reasons and as a society we have to realise that the population is always changing. We need to become more tolerant and accepting and work together.
Premier League Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore, said:
Kick it Out continue to work extremely hard to promote inclusive practices at all levels of football and the Premier League and our clubs are very pleased to continue to support their work.
We are proud of the diversity of the Premier League. With more than 60 different nationalities represented amongst the players and an increasingly diverse fan-base the Premier League spreads a message of equality and inclusion throughout the game and beyond.
PFA Chief Executive Gordon Taylor, said:
The weeks of action is one of the games most important initiatives. Kick It Out continues to make great progress in making our national game something that everyone can enjoy, regardless of background, race, religion or culture.
Away from match day activities, which include flag parades and fans mosaics, clubs will be opening their doors to local amateur and youth sides to debate issues and opportunities in grassroots football. Newcastle United, Crystal Palace and Bradford City will all host forums.
In addition, community activities such as drama productions, football tournaments and living libraries, will all make their own unique contribution to the One Game, One Community message.
The passion the disabled have for football and the problem of homophobia will be amongst the issues covered by fan projects with the National Association of Disabled Fans and the Gay Footballer Supporters Network all involved in activities.
Lord Herman Ouseley, chairman of Kick It Out, said:
The overarching idea behind the weeks of action is that the coming together of clubs, fans and local communities provides a focused, highly visible message of anti-discrimination. But over and above this it's about connecting clubs, players and their communities in a unified message of diversity.