Sky Blues stars help launch competition
Coventry City stars Reda Johnson and James Maddison helped launch an innovative competition led by the club with Kick It Out allowing fans to design the cover for their match programme ‘Play Up Sky Blues’ for their ‘Season of Action’ fixture against MK Dons on 28 February.
The ‘Season of Action’ is a season-long drive which provides a greater opportunity for Kick It Out to display the work it undertakes throughout the year to promote equality and inclusion across all levels of the game.
Kick It Out visited Barrs Hill School in Coventry where Rishi Jain, the organisation’s Football League Clubs Development Officer, delivered an interactive presentation on equality, inclusion, and diversity to an audience of 30 young people ranging from 13-16 years old.
Rishi said: “These sessions are really useful, and you can really see their value when we have a responsive group that is willing to interact and challenge what is being said.
“To have high-profile players from Coventry attend shows that inclusion is something that is important both on and off the pitch.
“We’re really pleased to be working with the club on a creative competition that can include the entire city.”
Afterwards, the players helped launch the competition where fans can see their artwork featured on the front of the programme cover for their clash with MK Dons. The young people from Barrs Hill all made an attempt at designing a cover.
The rules of the competition are that they must promote the Sky Blues, contain the Kick It Out logo, and be based around the theme of inclusion. The deadline for submissions is 5pm on Wednesday 18 February and a template can be downloaded by clicking here.
Both Johnson and Maddison got involved, helping the young people with their designs, as well as answering intelligent questions from the audience, and competing against each other in a speed-drawing competition.
James said: “It wasn’t too long ago since I was a pupil at school, and I looked up to footballers, so I can relate to the young people here today.”
Reda added: “Racism is a really big issue. I have been abused in the past, so this sort of event is crucial. Football is a big part of society.
“When it has happened to me, I turned to the abusers and smiled as I don’t think that’s the reaction they were expecting.”
Johnson is currently the Professional Footballers’ Association ‘Player in the Community’ award, and Dennis Leman, PFA Community Liaison Executive, commented: “Footballers are role models and that’s a big reason why Reda received the award last year.
“Community involvement is essential for both the football industry and the club, and for 28 years now, football has been involved with the community as a whole in education, health, and social inclusion.
“We’ve had close links with Kick It Out for many years, and we’re big supporters of the organisation.”