Former Wolves 'keeper latest to call for summit
Former Wolves keeper Matt Murray today called for unity amongst professional footballers, urging them to meet with the campaign and footballing authorities.
Speaking to Show Racism the Red Card (SRtRC), Matt said: “We don’t want to undermine the work of SRtRC and Kick It Out.
“People out there and the young people we work with need to know that players like Joleon Lescott and Rio [Ferdinand] aren’t totally against the great work we do."
Matt, who was a goalkeeper with Wolverhampton Wanderers from 1998 to 2010, added his voice to those already calling for a meeting between the footballing authorities, the players who boycotted the Kick It Out campaign at the weekend, and anti-racism campaign groups.
“They’ve been doing the T-shirts for a number of years now and I’ve never known it to get so much coverage,” Matt told us.
“I believe more work needs to be done – we need to get everybody together, black, white, Asian, Muslim – show how everybody can be a victim of racism and how much power the players have.
“A meeting is vital, absolutely vital."
Matt said the momentum from the protest should not be lost and that more funding should be channelled into anti-racism campaign groups like Show Racism The Red Card.
“There needs to be a lot more money – the funding is nowhere near enough for such a serious cause. Everyone involved with Show Racism The Red Card, the coaches, the staff, are so passionate about the campaign."
A number of high profile Premier League footballers controversially boycotted Kick It Out’s T-shirt campaign before their league fixtures at the weekend. However, Matt said this should not lead to a breakaway of black footballers.
“As soon as we say ‘black’ union it becomes ‘us and them’,” Matt said. “Racism is a serious thing in society, not just football. But football is a great vehicle for talking about it – it gets the coverage. We need to get our house in order.”
Matt, an ambassador for Show Racism The Red Card since retiring from the game, said great strides had been made in anti-racism work and called for more players to get involved.
“Speaking to the older black players, my generation really needs to pave the way for black coaches,” he said. “We’ve got to do it; too many black players take the easy way out.
“SRtRC is doing a brilliant job on a shoestring really. We need the expertise that charities like Show Racism the Red Card have built up, but the players need to do more.
“It’s only an afternoon of a player’s time to take part in an event or a panel. SRtRC is doing great work and that kind of support is vital.”