Kick It Out is uniting the football family this autumn as the game, from park pitches to the Premier League, pledges it’s backing to the One Game, One Community weeks of action.
With over 1,000 activities nationwide taking place between two weekends, the weeks of action is widely considered sport’s largest equality and community engagement initiative.
Synononmous with many supporters for the iconic Kick It Out t-shirts worn by high profile players, the weeks of action exist to mean much more. Kick It Out founder and Chair, Lord Herman Ouseley, explains.
"Coordination of the weeks of action is quite an undertaking’, said Ouseley. ‘Each of the 92 professional clubs dedicate a home game to the campaign, so close and regular consultation with each of them is key.
"There are a number of ways clubs can demonstrate their commitment to the weeks. Players warming up in the One Game t-shirts often provides the primary visual focus, but clubs are becoming more imaginative, some organising pre-match flag parades, fan choreographies, on-field presentations for pioneering community projects, and after game discussion evenings and seminars."
"The overarching idea behind the weeks of action is that the coming together of clubs, their fans and surrounding communities provides a focused, highly visible message of anti-discrimination.
"But, over and above this, it’s about helping clubs understand how crucial diversity is to our game and to maintain this mindset all year round."
With 16 years of campaigning under its belt, Kick It Out has witnessed, and contributed to, a welter of change, both attitudinally and policy wise since it’s formation during the fledgling days of the Premier League.
As well as continued support from some of the biggest names in football, the scope and scale of Kick It Out’s work has shifted with the footballing landscape.
Matters concerning gender, sexual orientation, religion and disability are now as much a part of the campaign’s remit as race and skin colour were back in 1993. This is reflected in the newly revised Equality Standard, a framework devised for clubs to help with their equality and diversity practices.