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Kick It Out calls for equality, inclusion and cohesion

VIEWS: Lord Herman Ouseley, Chair of Kick It Out, at the recent Football Black List Celebration

AS KICK It Out, football’s equality and inclusion organisation, heads towards its 25th year of existence in 2018, the organisation has called on the whole of the sport to seize the power and popularity of the game to drive discrimination, exclusion, prejudice and hatred out of the game through a newly published review report.

Entitled, ‘Football in pursuit of equality, inclusion and cohesion’ , the report sets out a range of actions for the football authorities to add impetus to the progressive work currently being undertaken.

The report, which has now been released publicly after initially being sent to The Football Association (FA), the Premier League, the English Football League, the Professional Footballers’ Association and the League Managers Association, recognises the efforts of the authorities, leagues, clubs and football supporters’ over the past two decades to tackle discrimination.

However, despite success achieved in relation to largely visible on-field activity, where multicultural male and female teams are a consistent feature of the game across grassroots and professional levels, elsewhere in the sport there appears to be ‘no go areas’ for underrepresented communities with apparent restricted access to equal opportunities.

In the areas of governance, administration, coaching, management, procurement, access to employment opportunities, whistle blowing, grievances, complaints, communications and promotion of diversity matters and leadership and organisational culture in the game, there is still much to be done.

Lord Herman Ouseley, Chair of Kick It Out, commented on the reasoning behind ‘Football in pursuit of equality, inclusion and cohesion’ : "There is an apparent willingness and mood among the various football bodies to move the equality, inclusion and cohesion agenda forward with real vigour and meaningfulness because of the potential value and benefits for the game.

“Those benefits include becoming a publicly recognised equal opportunity organisation; improved image, integrity and credibility; utilising the abilities, experiences and talents of people from all backgrounds; and being successful on and off the field of play with maximised community involvement and participation.

“Football’s community programmes and investment in the grassroots game have proven to be successful in bringing people, especially the current and next generation of young people, from all backgrounds to learn and play the game together and is one of the most effective vehicles in England, at present, to promote good community cohesion at a time of increasing prejudice, hatred and social division, both in person and on social media platforms.

“We look to the leadership of all the decision-makers in football to embrace equality, inclusion and cohesion - but we also need coherence across the whole game and look to The FA, as the governing body, to provide the essential steer.

“At present, The FA has a major public credibility reconstruction project to deal with and as part of that process, it must recognise that it needs to take the lead in setting the universal standard for football's on-and-off field policies and practices for equality, inclusion and cohesion across the entirety of the game.

“By doing so, it would not only be restoring credibility, it would be providing inspiration to all those involved in the game of football in England to buy in and to be part of a new and exciting reality that will ensure that Football is truly for All."

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