Today (Tuesday) marks the launch of Kick It Out’s ‘Season of Action’ recognising the organisation’s twentieth year of campaigning against discrimination in football.
The season-long initiative will replace the traditional ‘Weeks of Action’ period, typically held every October, and will feature the launch of a free downloadable app to help fans report incidents of discrimination; as well as a series of events looking at the origins of the movement, and projecting the next phase of activities to rid football of all forms of discrimination.
Lord Herman Ouseley, Chair of Kick It Out, said: “Many people thought Kick It Out would be a ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ campaign. Few thought it would be around today. The ‘Season of Action’ will look to reflect the groups and individuals that have helped the organisation reach this milestone.”
The app, also launched today so fans can download it ahead of the new football season, is available to users on iPhone and Android devices. It was developed after a survey, carried out by Populus with over 5,000 fans, determined that more options were required to report discriminative behaviour. The reporting of these incidents can be done anonymously, in order to protect those who fear they may be singled out if they are seen to be taking action.
The England U-21 fixture versus Scotland on 13 August 2013 at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane will also be dedicated to Kick It Out’s work. The two teams last faced each other 20 years ago. The first match between the two sides came in 1977 and was also played at Bramall Lane, as England ran out winners with a solitary goal from Laurie Cunningham. The game will provide a platform to commemorate Laurie’s talents too, with family members attending the game in his honour.
“Kick It Out has helped to alter the landscape of the game,” continued Ouseley, “Further to steps taken by the governing bodies, the leagues, clubs, players, managers and supporters. Our essential tasks are to educate, raise awareness and campaign for equality. Legislation has been brought in to help deal with the harassment and criminality associated with the game. It is a tribute to all who are working to bring about the changes that we can look optimistically and enthusiastically at the next generation of young players and fans to carry forward a better code of acceptable conduct and less hateful attitudes.”