Kick It Out want Uefa partnership after international breakthrough with England friendly
There may have been little to talk about on the pitch for England on Tuesday night, but the whole evening marked something far more important than the football.
England vs Switzerland marked the first Kick it Out International, arranged to celebrate the 25th anniversary of football’s equality and inclusion organisation.
Kick it Out, formed in 1993 to answer calls from all corners of football to tackle racism in the game, widened its spectrum to all forms of discrimination in 1997 and ever since has been working tirelessly at all levels of the game.
Their ‘Week of Action’ was launched and supported at domestic level back in 2001, but the game against Switzerland was the first official international recognition and show of support.
Those within the organisation were delighted with the exposure gained at the King Power. Broadcasting the first 25 seconds of coverage, as the players made their way out of the tunnel, may have seemed a peculiar gimmick by Sky Sports but if fans at home were not already aware of the organisation, they certainly are now.
Following the success of The FA’s first dedicated international, it’s time Uefa began to follow suit and started to work in tandem with Kick it Out.
European football’s governing body do have their own anti-racism campaign, but a joint-venture with Kick it Out would allow the likes of education manager Troy Townsend to extend their vital work to every corner of the game.
“Grassroots is massive [for us], in a ground if something happens it will be caught on camera, people will be identified and ejected from the ground. You don’t get that at grassroots,” Townsend told Standard Sport.
“It is probably the area of the game that we need to impact on more and something needs to be done.
“This is something Uefa should look at, we’ve had a tweet from them tonight saying congratulations which is great, but if they involved us a lot more there would be a bigger impact across the game.”
Townsend, who travels the length and breadth of the country educating those from the Premier League to grassroots on inequality, added: “The last couple of days have proved that when we do work together the impact is there to see.”
England’s trip to Leicester furthered the exposure of Kick it Out’s vital work and, while there are no concrete plans for another dedicated Three Lions friendly at the moment, it is something which must be recognised by those at the very top of the game in order to make a significant impact further down.