Arsenal’s Premier League home game against Birmingham City on Saturday 16 October will focus 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 14-26 October.
Arsenal has invited a number of representatives of its diverse fan base to welcome players on to the pitch at the game and line up with an impressive display of 17 flags representing the countries of the Arsenal squad. Music chosen by Arsenal’s Cameroonian midfielder, Alex Song will also feature in the matchday build-up whilst players warm-up in branded t-shirts to promote the day.
Arsenal’s CEO, Ivan Gazidis said: “This is a day of focus on this particular Club initiative, but Arsenal is committed to ensuring that everybody connected with Arsenal is treated equally, with dignity and respect every day.”
The Club launched the Arsenal for Everyone initiative three 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.
As part of this ongoing commitment, Arsenal in the Community coordinates an 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 the Somali community on a local estate which combines football coaching with numeracy and literacy learning.
The Club also ensures that its disabled supporters can enjoy football with the best possible facilities at Emirates Stadium ensuring that disability is no barrier to enjoying the sport. 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.
Lord Herman Ouseley, Chair of Kick It Out, speaking about the week of action said: “Collectively, we continue to make strides in the fight for equality across the game. Clubs, however, have a unique power to act as the catalyst for this progress.
The One Game, One Community weeks of action illustrates this perfectly, as clubs, along with players and fans, combine to send out the strongest message that football is our game, and there to be enjoyed by everyone.”
The unified support of the campaign will be replicated across the continent too as the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) network will ensure Champions League and Europa League fixtures communicate the message that discrimination and intimidation will not be tolerated within the game.
The One Game, One Community weeks of action is backed by football’s governing bodies and is the largest sporting initiative of its kind worldwide.
To find out how you can get involved or to learn about activities and events taking place near you, visit www.kickitout.orgCopyright 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 12 Oct 2010