THE head of a football charity has vowed to step up its battle against racism in the New Year.
Ged Grebby, chief executive of Show Racism the Red Card (SRtRC), made the pledge after the group’s Annual Review, which highlighted its achievements in 2013.
The move follows a string of high-profile on and off the pitch incidents, including the banning of a Black Cats fan who made an offensive monkey gesture during a game at the Stadium of Light.
Earlier this year, Liam Jones, 22, of East Vines, Hendon, was given a three-year football banning order after he admitted causing racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress while watching his team lose to West Brom. “It seems like racism has not been out of the headlines over the last year and the need for our organisation’s anti-racism education work has never been greater,” said Ged.
“Faced with this rise of racism, SRtRC has risen to the new challenges and increased the range and depth of our work.”
North East-based SRtRC works closely with Sunderland AFC, spearheading a range of campaigns and activities, and former player Gary Bennett is a key member of its education team.
“We have not been afraid to look at new areas of work and have developed resources around more general equality training with football clubs, trade unions and the private sector,” said Ged.
“However, whilst opposed to all forms of discrimination, we have re-emphasised that fighting racism through anti-racism education is our number one goal.”
Sunderland AFC CEO Margaret Byrne also praised the work of the charity.
“Sunderland AFC has been proud to work closely with SRtRC for a number of years,” she said.
“Our players support their campaigns wholeheartedly and participate in a range of events and activities across each season, aimed at promoting inclusion and celebrating diversity.
“The tireless work of SRtRC has had a tremendously positive impact in helping to combat racism and to raise awareness of the key issues associated with it.
“We look forward to continuing our positive partnership with them in the future.”