Concern was growing yesterday over the future status of football’s anti-racism charity Kick It Out after the Premier League announced its own “No Room for Racism” campaign.
Premier League grounds will display “No Room for Racism” adverts and banners over the next two rounds of fixtures as part of a new initiative following a series of discriminatory incidents at games.
The awareness campaign runs from this Saturday to Monday April 8, and will include branded promotional material at stadiums and on social media.
It coincides with two weekends that are usually set aside for Kick It Out, although the organisation’s work will also still be promoted by the Premier League, with club captains wearing the charity’s logo on their armbands. The Premier League has stressed that it is not setting up a new organisation and it has long been encouraged – not least by Kick it Out – to do more in this area.
The organisation has been concerned by several high-profile incidents, including the abuse of Raheem Sterling, a banana that was thrown towards Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and a chant aimed at Mohamed Salah, and felt that it should also launch its own campaign.
The Premier League is today launching the #NoRoomforRacism campaign, demonstrating its continued commitment to equality and diversity and using the power and popularity of the League to oppose racism in football— Premier League (@premierleague) March 25, 2019
In common with other football stakeholders, including the Professional Footballers’ Association and the grass-roots Football Foundation, Kick It Out is awaiting confirmation of its funding for the next Premier League broadcast cycle and the timing of this new initiative has prompted unease around the organisation.
Kick It Out received £270,000 last season from the Premier League as well as £125,000 each from the English Football League, Football Association and PFA.
It celebrated its 25th anniversary this year but Lord Herman Ouseley, the chairman, has announced that he will be stepping down to make way for “younger equality advocates and campaigners”. The Charity Commission is currently also reviewing complaints about staff treatment.
“Working with Kick It Out since 1993, great progress has been made in tackling racism,” said Richard Masters, the Premier League’s interim chief executive. “It is evident there is still a minority of people who think discriminatory behaviour is acceptable, but the No Room for Racism campaign makes it clear that it will not be accepted.”