KICK IT OUT CALLS FOR FOOTBALL COMMUNITY TO TAKE A STAND AGAINST DISCRIMINATION

Kick It Out has today launched a new campaign, called Take A Stand, which is encouraging people across the football community to take action in the battle against discrimination.

Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion organisation has teamed up with a range of partners to launch the initiative, including Facebook and the FA. Most football fans will have witnessed some form of discrimination in football – on the terraces, in dressing rooms or on social media – but more needs to be done to move from awareness to action.

Through Take A Stand, Kick It Out want to create a culture where individuals take personal responsibility for being part of the change. That includes fans, players, managers, CEOs, stewards, governing bodies, shop assistants and social media organisations – everyone on and off the pitch.

Take A Stand is both a challenge and an invitation for individuals and organisations to publicly commit to their own pledge. It is also a movement that everyone can play a part in.

Facebook is supporting Take A Stand by launching initiatives focussed on action and centred on reporting and education. It is building a new automated Messenger service, for when fans are back in stadiums, enabling people to report matchday discrimination directly to Kick It Out. Facebook is also launching a new education programme targeted directly at fans of all ages. It is piloting this new training module with anti-hate charity, HOPE not Hate, delivered through clubs’ community and fan engagement programmes. The pilot will be launched in close collaboration with the England national teams, Derby County F.C. and Portsmouth F.C., before being rolled out further in 2021.

In addition, Facebook is also launching educational resources available to all fans through a WhatsApp messaging service. By adding 07432 140 310 to your WhatsApp contacts, and messaging ‘hi’, fans will be sent information on the current anti-discrimination initiatives in UK football, ways to report and changes you can make straight away.

Twitter has also committed to being part of Take A Stand, by continuing to support with campaigns and educational initiatives which combat online hate, as well as delivering training sessions with football clubs and police authorities. It will also continue to focus on proactively actioning hateful content, where now more than one in two Tweets are identified and removed without reports.

Sanjay Bhandari, Kick It Out Chair, says: “Our Take A Stand campaign aims to tackle discrimination, but also create a culture where everyone belongs and individuals take personal responsibility for being part of the change. We can all do something to take a stand against hate and promote a more inclusive society. Our ambition is to turn bystanders into activists and to crowdsource solutions by capturing pledges of individual action. We want to use those pledges that we receive from the public and organisations, to turn them into insight and make anti-discrimination strategies better informed by understanding more about what people are doing on the ground.

“We know that social media can be a battleground of hate, which is why we’re working closely with Facebook and Twitter to improve that through looking at better regulation and enforcement, as well as updated and new reporting methods.”

Steve Hatch, Facebook’s Vice President for Northern Europe says: “Facebook and Instagram are where fans come to connect directly with their favourite players, teams and other fans and we want that to do without discrimination or abuse. We can all do something to take a stand against hate and promote a more inclusive society. 

“By equipping fans with the right tools, empowering them with the right education, and raising the level of conversation around discrimination in football, we can create an environment in which silence is replaced by action and play our part in supporting the goals of Kick it Out.”

Edleen John, The FA’s International, Corporate Affairs and Co-Partner for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Director, says: “We are committed to delivering a game that is free from discrimination and it is important that everybody plays their part in helping to achieve that. Take A Stand will give fans and others involved in the game the impetus to support us on this journey and tackle this issue head-on.

“We know that discrimination exists in society and often manifests itself through football, and only by working together across the game to drive meaningful change through action, can we truly ensure the game is a safe and enjoyable environment for all.”

For those who would like to make a pledge, either individually or as an organisation, or want more information on how to do this, please contact Kick It Out at [email protected]. You can also make a pledge by joining the conversation on social media, just use #TakeAStand and tag Kick It Out in your posts. You can find them on social media as below: