October is one of the busiest months for anti-racism organisations like Show Racism the Red Card. The campaign, as ever, is delivering workshops in schools and organising educational events at football clubs. Black History Month sees young people in full time education celebrating and learning about Black history. The Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) action weeks also take place in October. They see supporters, professional football clubs and players united in a desire to make racism a thing of the past across Europe.
In Wales and Scotland, Show Racism the Red Card are responsible for coordinating the FARE weeks of action. Professional football clubs and players support this by holding up our red cards before games and wearing SRtRC branding on their kits. In England, Kick It Out co-ordinate the weeks of action and have professional football clubs across the divisions and at grass route level supporting the initiative. Players wear Kick It Out t-shirts in pre-game warm-ups and are pictured with the ‘One Game – One Community’ banners. 2011 is the 10th consecutive year the FARE weeks of action have taken place.
Unfortunately, during the 2011 weeks of action there have been some high profile allegations of racism between players.
Patrice Evra complained that Luis Suarez had racially abused him several times during the Liverpool v Manchester United Premier League game on 15th October. Luis Suarez has strongly denied this.
On Sunday 23rd October, John Terry issued a statement denying directing a racially abusive term at Anton Ferdinand during the QPR v Chelsea game of the same day.
Show Racism the Red Card welcomes the news that in both instances the FA are conducting an investigation. If either player is found guilty then we would expect suitable punishment to be enforced.
All four clubs involved are long term supporters of the Show Racism the Red Card campaign.
Football clubs have fully embraced the anti-racism initiatives during the FARE weeks of action - young people across Europe see footballers publicly endorsing the anti-racism message. The allegations of racism within the game that have made headlines in the past few weeks demonstrate that this message is as vital as ever. However, irrespective of the outcome of the FA’s investigation into these two incidents, it is clear that racism is still a problem within our society. As such, the work of anti-racism organisations remains vital in educating people against racism.
Gary Bennett, head coach at SRtRC and former professional footballer at Sunderland AFC in an interview for The Guardian titled ‘Why is there still racism in football?’ said, “All you can do is just keep working on it [racism]. We've got to keep fighting it, day in, day out." You can read the full Guardian article here (Warning: Contains strong language).