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People United Day

People United Day - Statement

Every season, the Football Against Racism in Europe Network coordinates a week of action against racism in and around football stadiums across Europe. In a massive show of strength, fans, ethnic minority groups and football clubs all stand united against discrimination. In the UK the activities are organised by Kick it Out. As part of these activities FC United used its home fixture with Glossop North End at 3pm on Saturday 28th October as the platform for a People United Day.

The day, with the fixture as an “Under 18s Go Free Game”, involved schools and colleges being invited to bring along anti-racist banners, placards and whatever else they considered to be apt to show opposition to racism and support for uniting our communities. Accompanying schools‘ and college staff were given passes to the game.

The club encouraged its supporters‘ groups and sponsors to follow suit wherever possible, and arrive by 2.30pm so that Gigg Lane was awash with banners, which were then paraded around the ground.

Glossop North End FC were being invited to participate in our demonstration of unity.

One important question raised by some had been whether the proposed week of action was tokenistic. Clearly, any activity such as “Kick Out Racism” week has a strong element of being merely symbolic. However, we wish to stress our anti-racist and inclusive approach. We are a young club, and aim to ensure that our day will be the springboard to further activity.

To demonstrate the club‘s commitment the FC United board adopted the following statement to be displayed on the club website and in the matchday programme:

“FC United of Manchester is a club which has as one of its objectives to be ‘accessible to all communities in Greater Manchester‘. It must remain a club in which people of all backgrounds can feel comfortable, welcomed and able to contribute. Racist, xenophobic, homophobic or violent abuse will not be tolerated at the club. Any instances will be taken very seriously and remedial action taken.”

The proposal for Oct 28th built on the work we did during last year‘s week of action.

Our proposed activity aimed at:

  • The bringing of young people across the ethnic spectrum together in a big match football environment. This is very important. Football is, today, central to many people‘s ideas of community – and encouraging a sense of belonging is crucial if minorities are to feel included

  • The making of banners etc in schools and colleges gave a chance to discuss issues and to make a contribution to expressions of unity

  • The making of banners etc, and the demonstration of these by supporters‘ groups, encouraged new ethnic and anti-racist visitors that they are in the right environment. It also reinforced the club‘s inclusive message.

  • The participation of sponsor Bhopal Medical Appeal (who are prepared a “FC United of Bhopal” banner) additionally demonstrated that the club has more than a passing commitment to supporting communities across the world.

  • A strong effort by the club and supporters lead to an impressive demonstration of anti-racism that left a lasting memory for all supporters that attended

  • The activity helped to reinforce our approach to social inclusion and to ethnic minority groups who are under-represented on match days at present.

People United Day will be remembered for our solidarity, good humour and determination to root out racism and build on the unity of our communities.

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