Football’s most high-profile Anti-Racism Action Week yet has just finished, with all 92 professional clubs in England taking part. Activities were also put on by clubs, fan groups and community groups right across Europe in a show of strength against racism. Visit the Football Against Racism in Europe site at http://www.farenet.org/actionweek.asp for details.
Here in Sheffield, FURD joined forces with Sheffield City Council and players and officials from Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday, Barnsley and Rotherham to launch the Week of Action in Sheffield city centre. Sheffield United’s Wayne Allison, Phil Jagielka and Iffy Onuora, Barnsley’s Mitch Ward and the Lord Mayor of Sheffield were among those who came and watched a Streetkick tournament involving local Angolan and Congolese players. Club representatives made speeches in support of the Week of Action and talked about their club’s anti-racist activities. For a full report of the event, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/southyorkshire/sport/2002/10/17/anti_racism.shtml . For a listing of Week of Action events around the country, visit the Kick It Out website at http://www.kickitout.org/pages/woa_events.html.
Friday 25th October marked the launch of Doncaster Museum’s exhibition ‘In a League of his Own’ about the life and times of Arthur Wharton, the world’s first black professional footballer and 100 yards world record holder. He later worked as a pub licensee and a miner in South Yorkshire, and the exhibition links his story to local history. The Deputy High Commissioner of Ghana, Kwabena Baah-Duodu, opened the exhibition (Arthur was from Ghana). It runs until 27th April 2003 and admission is free.
On Sunday 27th, teams and volunteers braved the storms at a 5-a-side tournament, ‘Community United’, aimed at refugees and asylum-seekers. The winners were Sharrow United A, who beat the Darnall Five in the final. The Safe Haven Tigers won the Fair Play award, and the Player of the Tournament was Iftikhar Afzal of Sharrow. An MTV camera crew filmed the event.
At Sheffield Wednesday´s home match on the 19th, youngsters from the Owls Trust All-Stars, a mainly Asian club, took part in a penalty shoot-out on the pitch at half-time.
At Sheffield United´s match against Wimbledon on 26th, United players warmed up in ‘Let’s Kick Racism out of Football’ T-shirts, and held up a ‘Blades Against Racism’ banner. The message was backed up by scoreboard and tannoy announcements and programme features, and anti-racist badges and posters were given away by volunteers.