Foundation takes a stand with new Kick It Out initiative
During the resumption of the 2019/20 season, Manchester United announced that the club would donate all proceeds from shirt printing if fans chose to get ‘Black Lives Matter’ printed on their United shirts to anti-discrimination organisation Kick it Out.
It was agreed with Kick It Out that the money raised would be used in collaboration with the Manchester United Foundation to deliver anti-discrimination and inclusion workshops across their partner school network. That funding will now be utilised to promote Kick it Out’s mission in Greater Manchester’s most diverse communities.
The partnership will run throughout the 2020/21 season, with Foundation staff delivering anti-discrimination and inclusion classes across 48 partner high schools, primary and special schools, culminating in two football festivals next year.
Alongside this, referee coaching will be delivered to local black and minority ethnic students, diversifying the pool of referees, as well providing the opportunity to achieve referee qualifications and earn income officiating matches in grassroots football.
Over 1,000 young people will be engaged in the partnership, equipping them with equality, diversity and inclusion knowledge. The programme will unite communities and provide those from disadvantaged areas in Greater Manchester the opportunity to gain skills and qualifications through football.
This announcement follows on from the launch of Kick It Out’s national campaign, Take A Stand, which is challenging everyone across the football community to take an action or make a public pledge in the fight against discrimination.
Richard Arnold, Manchester United Managing Director and Chair of Manchester United Foundation, commented: “At Manchester United we have a responsibility to uphold the values of the club by promoting equality, diversity and inclusion throughout our communities, led through the club’s Foundation and the work they do directly within schools.
“Our fans have been incredibly supportive of that and their contributions, by choosing to get ‘Black Lives Matter’ printed on their own replica kits, have created this opportunity to provide real tangible help for the essential work that Kick It Out do. We are delighted that they have linked up with the Foundation to deliver this inclusive programme.
“It’s important to us that our fans, our staff and those we work with in the community continue to embrace the benefits of diversity, encapsulated by our own All Red All Equal campaign. We want them to only ‘see red’ in their support of Manchester United.”
John Shiels, Chief Executive, Manchester United Foundation said: “As part of the Take A Stand campaign, I’m delighted that Manchester United Foundation is able to demonstrate its commitment in the fight against discrimination, not with words but with action.
“We believe that innovative and effective partnership work is the key to uniting the communities we work in, and our programme with Kick It Out sets out the perfect ambition, not only to educate young people, but also to empower them.”
Sanjay Bhandari, Kick It Out Chair, said: “Through our Take A Stand campaign, we want to create a culture where everyone belongs and individuals take personal responsibility for being part of the change. One of the ways to achieve that is through education and working on the ground with local communities, to promote a more inclusive society. Our partnership with Manchester United Foundation will help us achieve just that. We look forward to working together and helping even more young people gain new skills and qualifications through the power of football.”
You can also make a pledge by joining the conversation on social media, just use #TakeAStand. For more information on Manchester United Foundation and Manchester United’s work in this area, visit www.mufoundation.org and www.manutd.com/allredallequal.