Today’s game is dedicated to Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion campaign, and its current ‘Season of Action.’ We look back on how the organisation has moved forward.
1993 was a mixed year for English football. The national team failed to qualify for the following year’s World Cup competition in the USA. The game was saddened to lose World Cup winning captain Sir Bobby Moore. The Premier League’s inaugural season ended in May, and the game was slowly modernising. Amidst all of this, a new initiative, soon to become known as Kick It Out, was launched with the aim of kicking racism out of football, challenging racially motivated abuse and behaviour on the pitch and the terraces and within the game’s administration, which seemed oblivious to the abuse and prejudice prevalent in all aspects of the game.
In 2013 Kick It Out marks 20 years of campaigning and today’s fixture is dedicated to the ‘Season of Action’ initiative to commemorate such a milestone. The campaign has so far seen the launch of a free downloadable app to help fans report abuse, and features a number of events looking at the origins of the movement and projecting the next phase of activities to rid football of racism, homophobia and all forms of discrimination. Back in 1993, some people thought Kick It Out would be a “here today, gone tomorrow” campaign, with few expecting it to be around today. The vile chanting that characterised football matches back then forced people not to attend, with violence and racial harassment also commonplace.
“We’ve altered that landscape, working in tandem with the steps taken by the governing bodies, the leagues, clubs, players, managers and supporters,” said Kick It Out Chair Lord Herman Ouseley. “Our essential tasks were to educate, raise awareness and campaign on changes that needed to be made. Legislation has been brought in to help deal with the harassment and criminality associated with the game. Nowadays, football is a much more enjoyable experience, whether watching or playing, but there is still work to do be done and we need the next generation of players, fans and everyone associated with the game to lead this.”
As the campaign looks forward to the next 20 years, its commitment to partnership work is as strong as ever. Kick It Out works with all involved in football for the benefit of the sport with its enabling and facilitating roles meaning it’s a resource for change within the game.