Show Racism the Red Card (SRtRC) in partnership with UNISON in the Northern Region have been running a football tournament in Colombia for the past two years. The tournament, “Show Dispossession the Red Card: Let’s defend our territory”, is organised by the Colombian Human Rights organisation Nomadesc along with social movements across Southwest Colombia. Unison Northern Region have had a partnership with Nomadesc for 10 years.
This year Ged Grebby, Gary Bennett (former Sunderland AFC captain) and Olivier Bernard (former Newcastle United and Rangers FC player) arrived in Cali on Thursday 7th December to take part in a number of activities around the UN’s Human Rights Day on 10th December. These included speaking at the Women’s Forum for Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights in Cali.
On Friday 8th December, the tournament itself took place in Bodega Alta, organised by the Resguardo Huellas indigenous community.
Berenice Celeita from Nomadesc explains the theme behind the tournament:
“Last year the tournament was organised in Buenaventura and was such a success we have been inundated with requests to hold another one. This year’s tournament was organised by the indigenous community in Caloto, Cauca. The tournament is the best opportunity for the boys and girls to save themselves from participating directly in the war which is taking place in Colombia. It means them working shoulder to shoulder with their communities in defence of life, territory and their culture. It is a great opportunity to bring together young people from the Black, Indigenous and Peasant communities who rarely get an opportunity to mix together. These young people find themselves vulnerable because of the armed social conflict which continues in Colombia.
Our thanks to UNISON Northern Region for their magnificent support over the last 10 years and to Show Racism the Red Card. The tournament was a huge success and the feedback from community leaders has been amazing.
Former Sunderland AFC Captain, Gary Bennett, said;
“This was my second visit to Colombia and it was even more enjoyable than last year. The Football Tournament was superbly organised and it was a joy to be able to work with the young people and community leaders on such a positive and progressive event.”
Show Racism the Red Card Chief Executive, Ged Grebby, said;
“When UNISON Northern Region approached us about this initiative in Colombia we thought it was a great idea. We know from our day to day work in the UK the power football has in terms of changing lives and it has been a pleasure to see the impact our ex-professional footballers have made in Colombia.”