Kick It Out – Racism has no place in football

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2013 National Delegate Conference
25 February 2013

With the events of racism being highlighted amongst several high profile football players, it is clear that the game has some way to go to shed itself of this vile and evil mindset.

When FIFA president Sepp Blatter under played the significance of racism in the game it raised concerns about his ability to deal appropriately with equality issues in football. Overlooking racism makes it even harder to educate and eradicate the problem.

When the European Championship took place in Poland and Ukraine in June 2012 there was real concern that far right groups would use this opportunity to pedal their hatred and racism during the games.

UEFA and FIFA will have to stop paying lip service to racism in the game and put in clear and transparent zero tolerant deterrents to those football federations who choose not to take the issue of racism seriously and tackle the issues within their domestic and national game.

During Euro 2012, UEFA fined one Danish player £80,000 for inadvertently advertising a betting shop during a goal celebration against sponsorship rules; yet only fined the Croatian FA £65,000 for racist chanting by 300 of their fans against an Italian player. This is another example of racism being downplayed within the game.

In addition we are disappointed with the delay by the Football Association (FA) not investigating the issue of alleged racial abuse by John Terry towards a fellow Black professional and question the timing of the delay in the criminal proceedings which ensured he was able to play in the European Championships in 2012.

We in UNISON are encouraged by our affiliation and donations made to organisations like Show Racism the Red Card as we are in no doubt that this work is of vital importance to the education and awareness of racism amongst young people. We are also mindful of the work Kick It Out are doing across the football federation and believe their work fits into UNISONS work programme on challenging racism. Football is the national sport and what happens on the field in professional football is a public and high profile reflection of what is occurring in our society. The concern is that unless there are robust challenges to attitudes in football then racism will become more pervasive at football matches, in our communities and in our workplaces. Where racism exists in the workplace we can never be truly organised.

Conference calls on the National Executive Council to work with the National Black Members’ Committee to:

1)support Kick It Out programmes and initiatives that fall in line with UNISON’s aims and objectives on challenging racism in the workplace;

2)write to the FA, UEFA and FIFA outlining UNISON’s concerns on the issue of racism in the workplace and the lack of action taken by the federations on this issue;

3)support and link into other partners groups that ‘Kick It Out’ work with like The Black and Asian Coaches Association and Stephen Lawrence Trust;

4)organise a meeting with these organisations to develop stronger links within the community and highlight the importance of the trade union movement in tackling these issues.