Kick It Out celebrates 20 years and looks to future challenges

UK anti-discrimination campaigners Kick It Out have celebrated their 20th anniversary in an event that brought together activists and representatives from across the world to highlight the importance in tackling exclusion and discrimination in the game.

Martin Luther King III, the eldest son of the late civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King Jr; the UK’s former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and, FIFA Anti-Discrimination Task force chairman and CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb, were among the line-up of guests for the dinner event.

“We are honoured to celebrate Kick It Out’s 20th anniversary of hard work tackling discrimination within football,” said the CONCACAF president.

“Football has the power of creating an environment of co-operation that fosters positive role models in society. We must work together towards creating a community that embraces diversity in all its forms,” he added.

'Authorities must accept responsibility'
Several English professional clubs, including Arsenal, Aston Villa, Brentford, Brighton & Hove Albion, Chelsea and Liverpool, also showed their support by being represented at the dinner.

The event rounded off a ‘Season of Action’ and looked back at the work and accomplishments achieved during its 20 years.

“If you go back to 1993 there was not only racist abuse but there was violence associated with that, the BNP and the National Front [far-right groups] actively recruiting in and around grounds,” said Lord Herman Ouseley, chair and founder of Kick It Out.

He continued, "We are in a better place now, but there is still work to be done. More importantly we want to get to the point where clubs and the authorities accept responsibility to go to the next level.”

‘They have been a big part of my career’
Former managers Malky Mackay, Chris Hughton and Chris Powell were also present and Powell revealed why the campaign means so much to him.

"Kick It Out have done some terrific work over the last 20 years and I'm sure they will make more progress over the next 20 years," he told Sky Sports.

"They've been a big part of my career since 1993 when I encountered racism as a young professional at Southend United and I'm pleased they've gone into other areas such as homophobia where other people need support.

"I'm proud to be here and be a part of it."

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