Kick It Out: “Unless you’re a white male footballer, you are subject to discrimination.”

KEVIN COLEMAN – GRASSROOTS Development Officer for Kick It Out – spoke with journalists today after video footage of a clash between John Terry and QPR’s Anton Ferdinand sparked a racism debate on Twitter.

The BBC reported Chelsea and England captain John Terry has denied making racist remarks towards Anton Ferdinand during Chelsea’s West London derby defeat at QPR.

Video footage of the confrontation between Terry and Ferdinand was widely circulated on the Internet, showing the players squaring up to one another.

A huge debate was circulating on Twitter, questioning what Terry had actually said. Various people were claiming they were sure they saw the player mouth insults.

The captain later issued a statement saying that he responded aggressively to Ferdinand’s accusations that he had been racist and he is “saddened to be dealing with these wrongful allegations.”

He also added:

“I am the proud captain of one of the most internationally diverse teams in the Premier League and I absolutely believe that there is no place for racism in sport and indeed in any walk of life.”

Newcastle United’s Kick It Out ambassadors Shola and Sammy Ameobi

Weeks of Action

The outcry on the social media platform indicates the mass of interest and attention paid by the general public to the issue of racism in football.

The organization Kick It Out has been working since 1993 to stamp out racial discrimination in football, as well as tackling other issues such as sexist attitudes towards women footballers, prejudice towards participants with traveler backgrounds and homophobia in the sport.

Kick it Out is essentially a campaigning organization, funded by the PFA, FA and Premier League which also brings racism reports and complaints to the attention of the relevant authorities.

They have begun a 2-week event called Weeks of Action where 92 clubs from grassroots to professional levels get involved with activities supporting the campaign. £1.5 – 2 million worth of publicity has been raised.

The Independent reported in 2000 that researchers from Leeds Metropolitan University found that 50 per cent of African-Caribbean players had experienced physical violence on the pitch that they claimed to be premeditated racist intent and perceived it as a norm of the game.

Kevin Coleman commented that racism in football should not be brushed aside and dealt with the same severity as racism in the workplace.

Coleman added that he wasn’t in a position to comment on the John Terry incident until it had been fully investigated.

Visit www.kickitout.org for further information.

– Monica Sarkar

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