Since Kick It Out’s inception in 1993, huge progress has been made in tackling all forms of discrimination.
Scroll through the timeline below to gain an insight into the key role the organisation has played in promoting equality and inclusion in football for over 20 years.
Let’s Kick Racism Out of Football is launched by the Commission for Racial Equality and the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA). A “10-point plan” of measures professional football clubs should follow to challenge racism is drawn up.
‘I’ve been very lucky to have a chairman and a managing director to whom colour doesn’t matter. We’ve had a lot of support from the local council. It’s a liberal-minded club. The fact that I am black is immaterial. I must have been the best person to have applied for the job, or otherwise I wouldn’t have got it.’
Keith Alexander on becoming first full-time black manager in Football League
‘I didn’t realise how I had affected so many people, not just in the football world, but kids who were struggling in life and had said I was an inspiration because it had changed their mindset on what they wanted to do in life and how they wanted to be successful.’
Paul Ince on becoming first black captain of England in 1993
Some of the game’s biggest names began to support ‘Let’s Kick Racism Out of Football’ and backed the organisation through television adverts.
Manchester United striker Eric Cantona, a victim of discrimination in a high-profile match against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in 1995, was one of the players to lend his voice alongside Les Ferdinand.
Jas Bains publishes ‘Asians Can’t Play Football’ report highlighting the problems British Asian footballers face trying to break into the professional game.
‘Let’s Kick Racism Out of Football’ changes its name to Kick It Out in 1997 as The Football Association (FA), Premier League, Football Foundation and PFA fund the organisation. On being formally constituted, Ben Tegg and Piara Powar became Kick It Out’s first two members of staff.
‘There was no occasion, no fanfare. Just the two of us in an office in the Business Design Centre, Islington. The first thing we did was write to all 92 professional clubs introducing who we were, and what we aimed to do, and that we were now being backed by the game’s governing bodies. We got five replies.
‘Within six months, however, we were swamped by the media. The clubs, slowly but surely, began to come on board, with a geographical trend quickly emerging. If one club from say, the north west, was seen with the Kick It Out t-shirts on, we’d get calls from other clubs in that area so as not to fall behind to local rivals. The campaign began to take on a global significance too. What we were doing was, after all, quite unique.’ Ben Tegg
‘My first international kit was an extra large men’s kit, it was ridiculous. I was a little 17-year-old kid and I didn’t care that you couldn’t see any part of me, it was a big kit. I was astounded I got one cap and if I never played again then it would have been fantastic to get just that one cap.’
Rachel Yankey on gaining her first full international cap for England Women in 1997
The government’s Football Task Force submits a report, entitled ‘Eliminating Racism from Football’, to the Minister for Sport. One observation from the campaign suggests that ‘non-white’ faces are few and far between in ‘shop-front’ positions in football clubs.
Kick It Out becomes a founding member of the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) Network.
Michael Chopra becomes the first Asian male to play for England as he scores the winner in a 2-1 victory over Argentina at Wembley Stadium for the nation’s U16s set-up.
Now an established group, Kick It Out developed its first ‘Week of Action’ in 2001 for professional clubs and grassroots projects to take a unified stand against discrimination. Soon becoming a prime feature in the footballing calendar, the initiative was supported by all clubs and had started to generate a lot of awareness about the campaign’s work.
Kick It Out invited to share good practice at the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Conference Against Racism in Argentina.
Kick It Out accepts ‘Free your Mind’ award at the MTV Europe Awards on behalf of FARE.
To help promote Kick It Out’s message to a wider audience, the campaign teamed up with M&C Saatchi, an international advertising agency, in 2002 to produce a commercial constructed around a poem called ‘Dear White Fella’. Narrated by its author, Benjamin Zephaniah, the film follows the life-stages of a football-loving black person from babyhood to the moment his ashes are scattered on his team’s pitch.
The first UEFA ‘Unite Against Racism’ Conference at Stamford Bridge is held.
Continuing to strive to accommodate people from all backgrounds and communities, Kick It Out launched the ‘Unity Cup’, a national 7-a-side football tournament, in 2003 to engage and work with refugees and asylum seekers across Britain to overcome exclusion and build confidence.
The campaign celebrates 10 year anniversary at the Great Eastern Hotel in London hosted by the PFA.
The Racial Equality Standard for professional football clubs is launched in 2004.
The UEFA European Championships 2004 in Portugal are used to stage anti-racism activities.
Blackburn Rovers become the first club to achieve the Preliminary Level of the Racial Equality Standard.
The National Asians in Football Forum releases a report entitled ‘Asians Can Play Football – a wasted decade’.
Zesh Rehman becomes the first British Asian to start a Premier League game when making his full debut for Fulham against Tottenham Hotspur.
To protest against continuing issues with racism in the game highlighted the year previous, Thierry Henry teamed up with fellow professionals, including Rio Ferdinand and Ronaldinho, in 2005 to front a Nike campaign called ‘Stand Up, Speak Up’, which saw two interlocked wristbands, one black, one white, worn by players all over Europe.
Kick It Out plays leading role in anti-racism activities delivered at the FIFA World Cup 2006 in Germany.
Manchester City become the first club to achieve the Intermediate Level of the Racial Equality Standard.
Formal Resolution calling on all stakeholders in the game to do more to challenge racism in football is adopted by the European Parliament in Strasbourg with a record 420 Members of European Parliament (MEPs) signing up.
FIFA amends sanctions on racism in football. Article 55 now stipulates tougher sanctions across the world game at all levels.
The ‘Week of Action’ was relaunched as the ‘One Game, One Community weeks of action’ in 2007 as the initiative continued to act as a focal point for players, managers, fans, grassroots teams, community groups and schools to join together and celebrate football’s ability to unite people from all walks of life. 1000 events take place.
Everton defender Joleon Lescott expressed his dismay after Newcastle United midfielder Emre Belozoglu was cleared by an independent commission of racially abusing Joseph Yobo. He hinted that he may not wear a Kick It Out t-shirt in the future in protest.
The Football League features five Asian professionals, the highest number to date.
Paul Ince becomes the first black English manager to lift a trophy.
Paul Ince becomes the first English black manager to manage in the Premier League.
Viv Anderson celebrates the 30th anniversary of becoming the first black player to play for England.
The Equality Standard, a progression for the Racial Equality Standard, is launched at BAFTA in London.
UEFA holds conference on anti-discrimination in football with FARE in Warsaw.
Kick It Out launches groundbreaking homophobia film in conjunction with The Football Association.
Kick It Out travels to South Africa with the British Council to host ‘Offside’ exhibition during the FIFA World Cup 2010 charting the history of South African footballers to have played in England.
Kick It Out launches its mentoring and leadership project aimed at increasing representation from the black and minority ethnic (BME) community in football.
Minister for Sport and the Olympics Hugh Robertson hosts reception at the House of Lords recognising Kick It Out’s key achievements.
Kick It Out hosts its inaugural ‘Leading the Way’ mentoring and leadership conference at the Trade Union Congress, Congress House in London.
Kick It Out releases The Y-Word, a film written and produced by Ivor and David Baddiel looking to stimulate debate around the topic of antisemitism in football.
Kick It Out links up with Queens Park Rangers for a groundbreaking grassroots football project aimed at increasing participation from the Gypsy, Roma, Traveller (GRT) community
Premier League lineswoman Sian Massey was on the receiving end of sexist comments made by Sky Sports presenters Richard Keys and Andy Gray which led to them both leaving the company.
With the under-representation and lack of coverage of women in football an ongoing issue, serious strides were being made as the Women’s Super League was established by The Football Association in 2011
Individual players decided to show their discontent at what they believed to be a lack of progress in tackling racism by refusing to wear the campaign’s t-shirts during its One Game, One Community weeks of action in 2011.
Kick It Out and Show Racism the Red Card host ‘Working Together for Equality’ conference at Villa Park
Kick It Out releases a free educational resource for schools, entitled ‘Think Again!’, to accompany The Y-Word.
Kick It Out establish new working relationship with FIFA by holding a reception at Wembley Stadium focusing on eradicating racism and discrimination from world football.
Kick It Out rolls out the Raise Your Game series across the country to help aspiring individuals from all backgrounds, ages and communities seek gainful employment in the football industry.
Kick It Out celebrates 20 years of campaigning for equality and inclusion in football. Yet the year began with a high-profile incident on the continent leading to AC Milan midfielder Kevin Prince-Boateng taking the unprecedented step of walking off the pitch after he was racially abused in a friendly match against Pro Patria. His actions resulted in him being asked to join an anti-racism task force set up by FIFA in light of the incident.
Kick It Out launches new app which allows fans to report discriminatory incidents when in a football setting.
‘English Football’s Inclusion and Anti-Discrimination Action Plan’ is introduced by The FA to address issues and incidents of discrimination in English football and encourage greater inclusion across the game.
FIFA’s member countries approve new anti-racism measures with a 99% majority at its congress in Mauritius.
Kick It Out continues its celebration for its 20th anniversary with the culmination of its inaugural ‘Season of Action’, with clubs from across the Football League and Premier League supporting the organisation with games dedicated to its work during the 2013/14 campaign.
2014 begins in controversy after Nicolas Anelka is charged by The FA after making a ‘quenelle’ gesture, which has antisemitic connotations, during a goal celebration. Anelka is eventually fined and banned for 5 games by The FA, as well as being suspended by his club West Bromwich Albion.
Raise Your Game, Kick It Out’s national mentoring and leadership conference, is hosted at Wembley Stadium for the first time whilst Women’s Raise Your Game takes place at West Ham’s Upton Park.
Kick It Out host its 20th Anniversary Dinner with guests including former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Martin Luther King III, among others.
Following the success of the 2013/14 season, the organisation launches its second ‘Season of Action’, focusing on grassroots activity in 2014/15.
Kick It Out launches its new Education Programme in September, supported by funds raised from the Anniversary Dinner, to promote awareness of the positive influence football can have in communities, but also addressing issues of discrimination and exclusion.
The year commences with a high-profile incident of racism involving a selection of Chelsea supporters travelling to an away fixture against Paris St-Germain in the Champions League. Souleymane Sylla, a black man, was repeatedly pushed off the carriage by supporters whilst racist chants were sung. The fans in question were given football banning orders for five years whilst the club banned them from for life.
In April, Kick It Out publishes research revealing the true extent of football-related discrimination across social media, with 134,400 discriminatory posts directed at Premier League clubs and players between August 2014 and March 2015.
The research highlights growing concerns surrounding online discrimination and in response, Kick It Out sets up a social media expert group, including representatives from Facebook, Twitter, the Ministry of Justice and the Digital Trust, in order to find ways to tackle the issue.
Kick It Out also releases the second version of its news and reporting app. The updated version allows media to be attached to reports to provide evidence, as well as enabling people to report incidents of football-related discrimination on social media platforms. The app also featured Women’s Super League grounds for the first time.
In the biggest Non-League Day to date, Kick It Out hosts a Non-League Roadshow to demonstrate its increasing commitment to supporting the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion across the semi-professional and amateur level of the game.
Kick It Out condemns comments made by Port Vale owner, Norman Smurthwaite, in which he admitted that the League 1 side turned down the opportunity to hire Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink over fears of racist abuse from their own fans.