Hornets to receive Equality Inspires Award
Watford will be presented with a trophy this coming Monday (1 May) in recognition for their outstanding work as part of the Equality Inspires programme, run by Kick It Out and the Premier League.
The Equality Inspires award will be presented before the Premier League clash with Liverpool at Vicarage Road by former Hornet Marcus Gayle, for the Academy’s impressive record in embracing and arranging equality and diversity training for all its players as well as staff and players’ parents and guardians.
Gayle played for the club between 2001 and 2004 and is now one of the tutors delivering Equality Inspires. The workshops aim to raise awareness on current issues including discrimination, underrepresentation and stereotypes within the game.
Workshops are delivered by Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion organisation, and consist of discussing topics such as racism, homophobia, sexism, faith, disability, social media and the impact of acceptable/unacceptable banter in a changing room environment.
All workshops are interactive and are led by the participants’ engagement. Sessions are tailored for club staff and parents and guardians, focusing on the support and advice they give to their young son on their journeys, as well as the impact of negative behaviour and the effect it can have on performance.
Troy Townsend, Education Manager at Kick It Out, said: “The club has embraced the concept of Equality Inspires and over the last two seasons, by ensuring that those connected to their Academy structure have received the appropriate training to support their understanding of equality, diversity and inclusion within their working environment.
“I have been immensely impressed with the Academy players who have been very vocal on some challenging topics, not only around racism in the game but homophobia and sexism too.”
Chris Thurston, Head of Education and Welfare at Watford, is delighted to receive the award.
He said: “The Equality Inspires sessions are really important for the players’ education. We’re looking to ensure they become well rounded individuals, part of that is their understanding of each other’s backgrounds and how they can better treat each other, in what is already a tough environment.
“We really believe that from Under-9 level to Under-23s, the education relating to equality and diversity is so important and its helping towards a better environment for the players’ journey and to hopefully them becoming professional players.”
Over the last two years the club has continued to prioritise the players’ education.
Thurston added: “The club has embodied equality and diversity for many years now, we’re just continuing the good work that has gone on before.
“It is important for the boys to understand this is something that is embedded in Watford Football Club anyway.
“What I’ve liked about all of the workshops – whether it be players, staff or parents – is that it challenges beliefs, it questions whether they’re okay, and really draws them out of those conversations being had.”