Kick It Out’s One Game, One Community weeks of action begins today and will run until the 31 October in football’s most visible display of social inclusion.
This season’s programme which has been lengthened by a week to include more activities, will see grass roots football join the professional game, as well as teams and leagues across the continent, form a united stand against discrimination taking root in the sport.
Throughout the 18-day period, professional clubs will be making their own contribution by holding match-day events at their dedicated One Game, One Community weeks of action fixture, with a horde of teams already confirming the activity they will be undertaking.
However this work is not just limited to first-team squads and match-day events.
Last season six Football League clubs put their Apprentice players through Kick It Out diversity training and this project is set to continue during the 2011-12 season.
Working alongside the likes of Earl Barrett (pictured above), up to a dozen club’s and approximately 200 Apprentice players are expected to take part in the initiative which has already been commended by No 10 Downing Street after Senior Broadcast Adviser Michael Salter watched a video of the training taking place at Sheffield Utd and Southampton.
“It’s (the video) a great tool to demonstrate the effect of diversity training on Apprentice players,” said Simone Pound of The Professional Footballers Association.
“It shows what we are doing with our younger players and is part of a wider scheme of work across the industry .
“It’s fantastic to know that Downing Street recognises and values all the projects being run in professional football to promote social inclusion.”
Equally as impressive is the range of work conducted across the football fraternity.
The PFA and The Football League has been involved in the development of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Charter and were present at a recently held reception for sport against homophobia hosted by the Prime Minister.
Other members of the football family in attendance included The Football Association and The League Managers Association. With the charter aiming to eradicate homophobia and transphobia from sport, backing has also materialised from the English Cricket Board, Rugby Football Union, Rugby Football League and Lawn Tennis Association.
The PFA has also produced a poster campaign for players entitled ‘Gay or Straight We Are All Winners’ while Show Racism the Red Card have also made a video about the topic.
If anyone thinks that social inclusion in Football is about two weeks in October, they need only delve a little deeper to realise the depth of work that is undertaken below the surface.