Date:Tuesday October 23 2012
The Let's Kick Racism Out of Football campaign was started in 1993.
Since that time, football has changed dramatically in this country and all for the better.
But high profile cases have hit the headlines not only on the back pages of the newspapers but also on the front pages as well.
We've had the Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra incidents and we've had the John Terry and Anton Ferdinand case, which has cost one England manager his job and Terry his international career.
Then last week we had the terrible scenes in Serbia which greeted the final whistle of England Under-21's game, with monkey chants coming from the stands and Serbian players and management staff physically attacking England team members.
All these incidents led towards the decision by a number of players in the Premier League to not wear their Kick It Out T-shirts ahead of their games despite it being an awareness week.
Ahead of the weekend a statement on kickitout.org read: Kick It Out`s annual awareness raising drive takes place from 18-29 October.
This important year for sport continues with football focusing on issues around discrimination and diversity throughout October.
With the fanfare and hyperbole of the season`s opening exchanges complete, October sees the competitive leagues enter a relative degree of calm and with it an opportunity to reflect on how football has worked to encourage greater involvement from minority communities.
Premier League and Football League clubs are encouraged to hold events and activities which involve supporters and players alike, and to embrace the inclusive and multi-cultural nature of the English game.
But despite the progress, some players believe the organisation should be doing and achieving more and this was the stance that Rio Ferdinand, Anton Ferdinand, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Nedum Onuoha, Junior Hoilett, Djibril CissÚ and Everton trio Steven Pienaar, Sylvain Distin and Victor Anichebe amongst others all decided to take.
Sir Alex Ferguson blasted Ferdinand for the decision he made, but Everton gaffer David Moyes would not criticise his players personal reasons behind not wearing the shirt.
'It is too big a subject just for David Moyes' opinion to matter that much, I did speak to the players. I gave them the opportunity, it was up to them to decide. I spoke to them and told them how I felt. I understand their points of view, and I'm totally supportive of the players.' Moyes told the Independent after the match.
So where does this leave the campaign? Is it weaker for some players publicly choosing to shun it?
Ironically the players choosing to not wear the shirts has created more publicity than the campaign usually does, its highlighted the campaign and the news that football still isn't perfect, just like society isn't and that the battle will continue to improve equality in football and the country.
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Date:Tuesday October 23 2012
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