Kick It Out were hosted by The Football Association (FA), in partnership with The Voice Newspaper, as football’s equality and inclusion organisation began its recognition for 25 years of campaigning for equality in football at Wembley Stadium on Monday 21 May.

On a wonderful evening at the home of English football, Kick It Out welcomed supporters and industry professionals from a broad spectrum of the game to recognise the achievements of equality in the sport and to encourage the next phase of inclusive practice required to achieve cohesion.

The event saw powerful speeches from Lord Herman Ouseley, Chair of Kick It Out, Greg Clarke, Chairman of The FA, Rodney Hinds, Sports Editor of The Voice, as well as a performance from the Everycolour choir, featuring pupils from Wembley Primary School.

Clarke began proceeding by reaffirming The FA’s commitment to providing equal opportunities across the game as well as his organisation’s support for Kick It Out.

“So, while I am delighted to be able to support Kick It Out and take a moment to recognise the organisation on 25 years of campaigning for equality in football, all of us here know there is more work to do. It is all our responsibility to ensure the game is For All and here at The FA we are committed working with all of you and playing our part.”

Lord Ouseley followed and was keen to impress on the audience that Kick It Out is not celebrating this landmark, but using it as an opportunity to assess the challenges to come.

He said: “Football is leading the way and can be proud of what it is doing. The importance and value of this contribution has to be put in the context of continuing bias, prejudice and hate related activity across society.

“Football should be leading and can be proud of the extensive investment in community programmes to increase the participation of young people from all backgrounds to play the game and interact with each other through education and learning, with evident residual  benefits for social and community cohesion."

Finally, Hinds spoke about The Voice reaching its 35th anniversary in 2017 and outlining the plans to develop a closer relationship with Kick It Out during this momentous period for both organisations.

“The Voice was founded by Val McCalla in 1982 in a society that was blighted by racism at the time, and in 1993, Lord Ouseley started the building blocks for the creation of Kick It Out.

“With both organisations being 25 and 35 respectively, there is a natural synergy between both Kick It Out and The Voice and we are delighted to be supporting during this important period.”

To round off the evening, Roisin Wood, CEO of Kick It Out, announced some exciting plans for the 25th anniversary including the launch of a podcast series to commemorate the season, as well as outlining some of the key events and initiatives that will take place throughout the 2018/19 season.

“Even though this is Kick It Out’s 25th anniversary, we are keen to explore what football is doing in the pursuit of equality, inclusion and cohesion.

“This is going to be a really exciting year and we are trying to be as innovative as possible on how to achieve our aims, including further interaction at grassroots level as well as hosting a conference on equality at the end of the season.”