Kick It Out statement on England manager Gareth Southgate's comments
Following Gareth Southgate’s comments to the media on the need for English football to get its ‘own house in order’ regarding racism, Kick It Out has released a statement.
The statement reads: “Kick It Out welcomes the England manager’s comments and is pleased that Gareth Southgate is using his position to encourage discussion about the need to tackle racism in English football. It is not only at international level that discriminatory abuse is occurring, but across the entirety of football and more leaders should follow Southgate’s example of speaking up and changing football’s culture on and off the field of play.
“Kick It Out is delighted that an educational workshop delivered by Troy Townsend, the organisation’s Education Manager, in which he provided evidence of the appalling racist abuse received by England’s Under-16 team on social media, was able to have an impact on coaches across the national team set-up. It is only by exposing people to the harmful effects of all forms of discrimination and exclusion that we are able to make progress.
“Discrimination must always be challenged, so it is appropriate that concerns have been raised across football about the potential dangers faced by BAME and LGBT supporters and players at the World Cup in Russia this summer, who must be protected from discriminatory abuse.
“However, the England manager is also correct to emphasise that there is still significant work to be done in this country to eliminate racism from football and wider society, and problems at an international level should not provide a smokescreen for the issues that must be addressed closer to home.
“Kick It Out was set up nearly 25 years ago to tackle racism and is encouraged by Southgate’s willingness to highlight the problem – the organisation hopes that he will continue to use his influence to challenge issues of discrimination in this country.
“More importantly, Kick It Out hopes others at the top of the game will follow suit to take the robust action required to achieve sustainable equality, inclusion and cohesion in English football.”