Racism Tackled for Sake of Our Children

Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales), December 11, 2005 | Go to article overview

Racism Tackled for Sake of Our Children


Byline: By Lucy Ballinger Wales on Sunday

It's possibly one of the hardest jobs in the world - persuading Welsh fans to be nice to the English.

But that is the challenge facing a new Wales sports tsar whose task it will be to draw the line between racism and rivalry.

Sporting organisation Show Racism the Red Card will appoint a Welsh education officer early next year to coordinate the campaign, which will be aimed at our children, the supporters of tomorrow.

Welsh stars such as Man United winger Ryan Giggs, rugby player Colin Charvis, soccer boss John Toshack and rugby coach Mike Ruddock are backing the Kick Racism Out scheme, which will attempt, among other things, to wipe out the tradition of whistling England's national anthem in sporting fixtures.

The officer, who will look at all types of racism, will concentrate on football, but also has a brief to cover rugby. Although the post will have no law-making powers, it will play an important advisory role alongside the Football Association of Wales.

Project coordinator Ged Grebby said: 'The Welsh co-ordinator will develop our educational work in Wales. They will work with local councils and schools to combat racism through education.

'The co-ordinator will focus on football, but we recognise the importance in Wales of rugby too.

'They will deal with racism towards people of ethnic minority, which doesn't mean it has to be the colour of your skin. Recently we've seen an increase in the amount of racism towards asylum seekers.

'If there are examples of anti-English racism in Wales, then we would condemn that.'

In Scotland, which operates a separate legal system to England and Wales, a court ruled in September that the term 'Welsh' can be used in a racist way.

Football fan Kevin Bonar committed a racially aggravated breach of the peace when he called the then Celtic striker Craig Bellamy a 'wee Welsh b******'. North of the border, the Scottish Kick Racism Out officer has already established links with schools across the region and run poster campaigns using bus shelters to focus on religious rivalry between Celtic-supporting Catholics and Protestant Rangers fans.

While the Welsh co-ordinator of Kick Racism Out will not have any direct powers to deal with such incidents, the position is set to be influential as the officer will sit on a sub-committee which includes members of the FAW, FAW Trust and Sports Council for Wales.

Mr Grebby said: 'Our job is educational and racist incidents will be tackled by the Commission for Racial Equality. But if we think laws need to be passed I have got no doubt we have got the influence to do that.'

The co-ordinator, due to be recruited in late January and starting work in March, will be based at the FAW Trust offices at the Vale of Glamorgan hotel. …

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