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Kick it out
It may be hard to imagine now but not so long ago black footballers frequently faced monkey noises and racist chants from crowds, and racial abuse from opponents.
Stuff that doesn’t happen any more. Right? Players from all over the world, of all colours and creeds, now play in the Premier and Football Leagues. Black players have been at the top of the game for years and the England team has had loads of black internationals.
It might have been a problem in the past, but racism’s gone, and good riddance. Well, maybe..
• In November 2002 ‘old fashioned’ monkey chants were hurled Manchester United's Dwight Yorke by Sunderland fans during their Worthington Cup tie at the Stadium of Light.
• In November 2002 Leicester City’s British-born Turkish star Muzzy Izzet was loudly booed by Leeds United fans each time he touched the ball during their Premier League clash at Filbert Street.
• And in September 2002 fans watching England’s friendly against France in Paris racially abused Andy Cole and chanted ‘I’d rather be a Paki than a Turk’.
Yes, black faces are common on the pitch, and accepted by football fans everywhere. But incidents like these are still common too. If football is for everyone then we have to get rid of racism forever. If we work together we can really kick racism out of football.
This website gives you the facts, the views of the stars, and explains what is being done to tackle racism. It also lets you know what you can do to help secure the future of the beautiful game … for everyone.
What can you do?
Report racists – if you receive racist abuse, or see or hear someone making racist comments or gestures, you should report it – to a steward or the police; to a teacher or coach; to the club if you are a fan; or to the local authority if it occurs on your local council pitch.
Racist abuse at football matches is against the law, so the police and stewards should take action. Referees should act if the abuse comes from players, and your league or county FA should look into the matter. Make note of the incident and let Kick It Out know what’s happened too.
The KIO hotline number is 0800 169 9414.
Find out more – there’s lots of information around about racism in football and the history of black footballers. Perhaps you could write an article for your school magazine, suggest a project to your history or citizenship teacher, or even create a play about the experiences of some black players.
You could find out about black players from your local area, and learn what their experiences were like, even those who didn’t make it to the top. Who knows, you may uncover a forgotten star!
Perhaps it could be an ICT project – there’s lots you can uncover using the internet.
For example, www.blackpresence.co.uk contains lots of information about Arthur Wharton and Walter Tull, two of the earliest black players. And you can learn how Tull’s memory was preserved by Northampton fans at web.ukonline.co.uk/ntfc/tull.htm
Why not visit your local club and check out what it is doing to tackle racism. You could even make a few suggestions?