This evening’s fixture against Coventry City has been dedicated to celebrating the work of Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion organisation, as part of its ‘Season of Action’.
Founded in 1993, Kick It Out has altered the landscape of football by educating, raising awareness and campaigning to make the game a more safe, welcoming and comfortable environment free of all forms of discrimination, prejudiced attitudes and abusive behaviour.
The ‘Season of Action’ format – introduced last season to recognise Kick It Out’s 20 year anniversary - has replaced the traditional ‘weeks of action’ which used to fall in October. The season-long drive provides a greater opportunity for Kick It Out to display the breadth of its work across the game.
During this evening’s fixture, both sets of players, management staff and supporters alike will embrace the diversity of English football by wearing Kick It Out t-shirts, donning badges and stickers, and distributing promotional materials.
This year’s ‘Season of Action’ has a specific focus on supporting grassroots and community activity with professional football clubs continuing to play a leading role in spreading the message of inclusivity to all of their local stakeholders throughout the season and beyond.
Barnsley FC Chief Executive Ben Mansford, said: "It's vital clubs like ours lead by example in creating a safe, welcoming and comfortable environment for people from all backgrounds to enjoy their football.
The football community has a responsibility, whether it be as managers, players, staff, administrators or supporters, to take a zero-tolerance approach towards discrimination and show a unified stance in endorsing Kick It Out’s message of making our game available to anybody wanting to be involved. At Barnsley Football Club we are very proud of the atmosphere, the behaviour of our fans and the respect that they show towards all players, managers, club officials and to each other.
Enjoy this evening’s match and if you see, hear or are on the receiving end of discriminatory abuse in the stadium today, make sure to report it immediately to a steward, or via the free Kick It Out app."
Roisin Wood, Director of Kick It Out, said: “We are determined to strengthen our presence at grassroots and community level to help further educate the future players, coaches, supporters and administrators of the game on what Kick It Out represents, and the need to banish all forms of discrimination.
“Many professional football clubs act as the hub for their local community, and set a real example by raising awareness of equality and diversity issues. Nominated ‘Season of Action’ fixtures are the perfect platform for clubs to reinforce their commitment to Kick It Out and its ethos.”
During the ‘Season of Action’, Kick It Out is providing supplementary resources, running a national education competition, undertaking school workshops and facilitating player visits led by its ‘Next 20’ ambassadors from across the Premier League, Football League and Women’s Super League.
To keep up-to-date with the latest ‘Season of Action’ news, you can download the free Kick It Out app via the App Store and Google Play. The app, which was successfully launched in July 2013, also allows users to report discriminatory abuse they see, hear or are on the receiving end of.
Do you want to play a more active role in Kick It Out’s ‘Season of Action’? You can get in touch with the organisation by calling 0207 253 0162, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.