By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger wants English football to unite behind the Kick It Out campaign to ensure it is effective and credible.

The anti-racism campaign's week of action began on Thursday and footballers have traditionally worn shirts to promote the 'Kick It Out' message. However this year some high-profile black players, including Reading striker Jason Roberts, have refused to take part.

Roberts is concerned that Kick It Out has not done enough to combat racism but Wenger praised English football's approach to the issue when he faced the media on Friday. He believes the Football Association are leading the way when it comes to tackling discrimination.

"You can say that the FA do not do enough, but at least they do something," said Wenger. "There are some countries where they don’t do [anything]. I am long enough in this country to say that they [the FA] tackle the problem. They don’t hide behind it. They try to do something - you can always say it is not hard enough or too hard.

"It is not easy yet they have a consistent behaviour to fight it every year. You could see that with the Suarez and Terry [incidents]. They do not let people get away with it.

"I would like [black players] to join in," added Wenger. "I feel that they are the main targets and if they do not join in it makes the whole thing not efficient and not credible. We need everyone to fight together against that.

"Because they have faced the most abuse I think it is important they are on board. If they feel the punishments are not hard enough they have to express that in a different way but I think that it would be sad if they do not join in."

The issue was back in the headlines this week when the Serbian FA was charged after alleged racist chanting by fans at England Under-21s' game in Krusevac. Wenger agrees with those who claim that punishments for racist behaviour are not severe enough - but he believes education is the best way to eradicate the problem.

"You can say that [punishments are too lenient], but I think against stupidity the best way is information, knowledge of things and examples of behaviour, of attitudes," he said.

"That is much more efficient than punishment but you have to do both because some behaviours cannot be tolerated. It is not only racism, black and white, it is against all kinds of insults we still have in the stadiums. We must fight more against it.

"You look at some faces when you walk around the pitch, what they shout at you is scary. That is, for me, racism. You are insulted because you are not in their clan. That is a kind of discrimination. There is still a lot to do but I think it's good that society fights against it. I am thinking that it is getting better, but it is never won. It is a strange battle that is never won.

"I don't think that racism is still a big problem in football, but you have some people and some countries who react to that. Still, if I think of when I was a kid and today, we have made huge progress. Society has improved a lot on that front, but it is still not completely won. We have to continue to fight it."

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19 Oct 2012