Youngsters from across North Ayrshire are set to take to the football field to Show Bigotry the Red Card.
A Festival of Football is taking place at Inverclyde National Sports Training Centre, Largs, on Sunday, 22 April 2012.
The festival is the culmination of a series of sessions held at Kilwinning Sports Club.
A number of successful sessions for youngsters took place in February involving North Ayrshire Council Community Development Youth Services, staff from the club, KA Leisure, the SFA and well-known coaches assisted by representatives of Show Bigotry the Red Card.
Chief Inspector Roddy Newbigging, North Ayrshire Council’s Director of Community Safety, said: “The initiative has highlighted that our communities will not tolerate sectarianism in any form.
“The innovative method of combining training and education has been highly successful; the commitment of the students has been nothing short of inspirational.
“Through time, these young ambassadors will help to promote the excellent work of Show Bigotry the Red Card and provide a change in culture thereby making our communities safer.”
Chief Inspector Gary Ritchie said: “This has been a great programme for the young people of North Ayrshire, which has had a wide impact in the community.
“There has been a reduction in the number of sectarian type incidents across the area and community police officers have a reported an increase in awareness as a result of the publicity surrounding the programme and tournament.
“I have been greatly impressed by the enthusiasm, knowledge and honesty of the young people who clearly appreciate how pointless it is to engage in sectarian behaviour.”
The sessions were aimed at local boys’ and girls’ clubs and involved an hour of football coaching followed by a workshop run by the Show Bigotry the Red Card team.
Ten clubs from across North Ayrshire took part in the sessions with former professional footballer Derek Ferguson and Greenock Morton Captain Stuart McCaffery providing coaching and mentoring.
All the teams who took part now have the opportunity to enjoy the Festival of Football at Inverclyde National Sports Training Centre.
The youngsters will be able to work on their football skills before taking part in a panel discussion on sectarianism.
Elio Ajmone, Project Manager for Show Bigotry the Red Card, said: “This event is the culmination of the anti-sectarian educational initiative in North Ayrshire which has involved young people taking part in thought-provoking, interactive workshops, as well as fun football coaching sessions.”
Former professional footballer Derek Ferguson said: “This event marks the end of a tremendous initiative involving young people in North Ayrshire and it has been really encouraging to see how they all engaged with and supported the anti-sectarian message.”
Pictured above: Kilburnie U19s Captain and Beith Select Captain with footballer Craig Dargo.