Published on November 19, 2012 | by Craig Matthews0
Kick it Out facing tough times ahead
This has been shown with the awful abuse that Danny Rose had to suffer after the full time whistle in Serbia whilst on international duty with the under 21s.
With other high profile cases in the last year including Patrice Evra and Anton Ferdinand, fans everywhere are asking: what needs to be done to stop this?
The leading campaigners in eradicating racism from football in England are Kick It Out, who have just completed their week of action which aims to raise awareness and educate people.
Players from all leagues in the country marked this unity and support in the action week by wearing Kick it Out t-shirts in warm up to last weekend’s matches. 30 players, including Rio Ferdinand and Reading’s Jason Roberts, refused to wear the shirts in protest.
This stand by a small section of footballers, especially high profile players such as Roberts and Ferdinand, is a step backwards in the fight against racism.
Kick it Out operates as a charity based organisation, operating on donations, and has only seven paid members of staff on their payroll. Receiving the brunt of the negative press in the recent surge on tackling racism; Kick it Out can only do so much.
As a small organisation that can only promote within their means, players such as Roberts who have attacked the company directly are missing the main objective. Rather than attacking Kick It Out, players need to support them.
UEFA and FIFA are not doing enough. Small, petty bans, like the recent slap on the wrist that John Terry was handed, will not stop racism.
Porto were fined £16,700 for racist chants by fans whilst Nicklas Bendtner was fined £80,000 for showing a pair of sponsored pants at Euro 2012. If the governing bodies do not enforce stricter punishments, racism will not be stopped.
Everyone involved with football knows that there is a problem. This is largely due to the tireless efforts of Kick it Out to raise awareness from professional down to grassroots level.
Kick it Out have done the hard work in promoting awareness, but more needs to be done. Attitudes need to be changed and awareness is seemingly not enough. If examples are made of those who offend then cases like the racial abuse Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote received from an Arsenal fan will soon disappear.
Danny Welbeck is the latest player to be subject to racial abuse. The Manchester United forward was ridiculed by Chelsea fan Gavin Kirkham who tormented the striker with monkey gestures throughout the Premier League encounter last weekend at Stamford Bridge.
Kick it Out as a company does not have any ruling over players. They cannot implement any charges, so their power is limited. They can only try to educate people to have zero tolerance of racism.
An ex Kick it Out employee, Piara Power, recently stated that Kick it Out does not have enough power to help eradicate racism totally.
“Kick it Out’s job is to highlight issues and perhaps put some policy solutions to those issues.
The issue here is that Kick it Out really is a product of the people who support it. It has an independent voice but the resources are equivalent to the voice that is has created itself.” Pira Power
Power continued, “In some ways I’ve heard some people say that has been the means of the control of the football authorities. They have wanted to look at this agenda perhaps not to go too far down this road, in terms of funding, because of the implications that it has for those organisations internally.”
With all the money that is in football, Kick it Out only receive a small amount of funding from the FA. In the 2010-2011 season the expenditure of Kick it Out was only £473,180.
If the heads of the footballing bodies, that are generating millions of pounds profit a year, can only afford to let that small amount of money go, how can they expect racism to be removed from our once beautiful game?
Racism is a dark cloud that continues to loom over football at a time when controversy and scandal are rife. It seems that only a small section of people in the game are genuinely concerned about racism, where as the majority are more concerned about their next big pay packet.
Although wearing shirts can publicise Kick It Out and their efforts, it does not actively combat racism. Players wear the shirts because they are told to, but do they really care about cleaning up the game?
Harsher punishments need to be dealt, and the governing bodies should make examples out of those who are racist. If people can see the consequences of racist action in football then the fight against racism can be won.
There is no doubt that this is not something that can happen overnight, but continued support for Kick It Out in the battle against racism is a step in the right direction.