Sunday’s match against Sunderland focuses on the Club’s Arsenal for Everyone initiative, an ongoing scheme which embraces the diversity and equality of the Club and its fan base.
The match coincides with football’s equality and inclusion campaign Kick It Out’s, One Game, One Community Week of Action which takes place between 13-31 October.
There are a number of things to watch out for on Sunday including Arsenal’s ball boys and girls forming a guard of honour for players who will line up with an impressive display of 20 flags representing the countries of the Arsenal squad. A specially created video will run pre-match to showcase Arsenal’s commitment to ensuring everybody connected with Arsenal – irrespective of race, age, religion and belief, sexual orientation, disability and gender – feels an equal sense of belonging. Watch out too for our perimeter boards which display the Arsenal for Everyone message in each player's native language.
We will also welcome Arsenal's disabled supporter, Barry McDonald from Mottingham, south east London who will present Jack Wilshere with the annual Disabled Supporters Club Player of the Season award. Barry was chosen at random from the Disabled Supporters Club members who voted for Jack for his performance throughout the 2010/11 season.
The Club launched the Arsenal for Everyone initiative four years ago in a bid to move from an anti-racism message to a celebration of the diversity of the Arsenal family. It also forms part of the Club’s work towards the advanced level of Kick It Out’s Equality Standard, a framework devised for clubs to help with their equality and diversity practices.
Through a number of initiatives undertaken in the community and inside Emirates Stadium, the Club endeavours to ensure that everyone associated with the Club feels an equal sense of belonging. The Club's commitment to its disabled supporters is underlined by the variety of facilities at Emirates Stadium that ensures disability is no barrier to enjoying an unrivalled matchday experience. Arsenal is committed to making football accessible to its visually impaired supporters by offering a dedicated matchday commentary service, free of charge and also audio matchday programmes (on CD) which are available on subscription.
Arsenal in the Community annually coordinates the Arsenal for Everyone primary schools project which sees staff visiting local schools delivering religious education lessons, drawing parallels between the multicultural Arsenal team and the local community. These lessons are followed by an hour of football coaching underlining the importance of teamwork. The Club also runs disability football sessions, short mat bowling gatherings with the community’s senior citizens, interfaith programmes and its successful Double Club project which engages a cross section of cultures in the community on local estates which combines football coaching with numeracy and literacy learning.
Kick It Out's One Game, One Community week of action this season focuses on a renewed call from football’s equality and inclusion campaign for supporters everywhere to report discrimination heard, or seen in stadia.Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 14 Oct 2011