Kick It Out will be shining a spotlight on grassroots and community activity during its second successive ‘Season of Action’ which runs from August 2014 to May 2015.
The ‘Season of Action’ format – introduced last season to recognise Kick It Out’s 20 year anniversary – has replaced the traditional ‘weeks of action’ which used to fall in October. The season-long drive 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.
The specific focus on grassroots and community will see Kick It Out providing supplementary resources, running a national educational competition, delivering school workshops, developing its partnership work with County FAs, and facilitating player visits led by its ‘Next 20’ ambassadors – 20 young stars from across the Premier League, Football League and Women’s Super League.
Roisin Wood, Director of Kick It Out, said: “We are determined to strengthen our presence at grassroots and community level to help further educate the future players, coaches, supporters and administrators of the game on what Kick It Out represents, and the need to banish all forms of discrimination, prejudiced attitudes and abusive behaviour from football.
“We will be leading a real drive to engage more with grassroots and community initiatives, and fan groups, to enhance their awareness of equality and diversity issues, and to promote the ethos of Kick It Out. We have several exciting initiatives running throughout the ‘Season of Action’ and want to hear from anybody who would like to get involved.”
Premier League and Football League clubs will demonstrate their support by continuing to dedicate games to the ‘Season of Action’ and hosting non-matchday activities as Kick It Out encourages increased engagement with grassroots and community initiatives. Clubs will also be asked to raise awareness of the Kick It Out app which was successfully launched in July 2013.
During the 2013/14 season, Kick It Out’s message reached a large volume of fans throughout professional football in England with 1,114,323 spectators attending nominated ‘Season of Action’ fixtures. The ‘Fans for Diversity’ campaign, established by Kick It Out and the Football Supporters’ Federation, will look to further empower fans on equality and diversity issues this season.
There will also be a series of regional and national conferences delivered by Kick It Out’s Mentoring and Leadership Project, which has produced a number of success stories since it was established in 2010, as the organisation looks to provide more aspiring individuals eager to break into the football industry with job opportunities, work placements and qualifications.
In addition, a concerted push will be made to publicise the organisation’s reporting mechanisms – including the Kick It Out app, its online reporting form and freephone service. One incident is too many, and everybody in football has a part to play in tackling discrimination and maintaining a policy of zero tolerance from the professional game down to the very grassroots.
Towards the end of last season, Kick It Out launched distinct accolades which were awarded posthumously to former West Bromwich Albion winger Laurie Cunningham, and grassroots hero Trevor Hutton, who both made outstanding contributions – and continue to provide great inspiration – in the battle for equality.
These will now be awarded annually with the Laurie Cunningham Award recognising an individual’s role in tackling all forms of discrimination in football, and the Trevor Hutton Award acknowledging the promotion of equality and diversity at grassroots and community level. A nomination process will be opened up on www.kickitout.org during the 2014/15 season.