Sky and Kick It Out form partnership to fight racism and discrimination; Sky will provide Kick It Out with £3m of funding over next three years and make it easier for football fans to report incidents of discrimination
Sunday 10 January 2021 21:11, UK
Kick It Out has launched a three-year partnership with Sky which will see Sky become its key broadcast media partner in the drive for inclusion in football and the battle against discrimination in all its forms.
Sky will commit £3m over the next three years, in a mix of cash and value in kind support and make it easier for football supporters to report incidents of discrimination.
Sky will also commit to using its powerful voice, extensive reach and established channels to support the organisation that has been at the forefront of the fight against racism and discrimination in football for over 27 years.
As well as committing to use its editorial reach, voice and platforms to campaign for change, Sky will work on a series of initiatives with Kick It Out.
These will include partnering on educational initiatives, making it easier to report instances of discrimination online and inside football stadia, and developing annual transparency and insight reports on a range of issues relating to diversity, discrimination and inclusion.
Sky Sports partnered with Kick It Out on their recent #takeastand initiative launched during England's match against Belgium at Wembley in October, and was a proud supporter in 2018 when Kick It Out celebrated 25 years of tackling discrimination.
Kick It Out chair Sanjay Bhandari said: "We are absolutely delighted to have Sky onboard as the first new strategic partner, as part of our new vision to be a galvanising hub for inclusive change in football.
"We share the same ambition to bring football together and make it a game where everyone feels that they belong. This is an enormously exciting partnership. We look forward to working together to deliver real change in the game we all love."
Stephen van Rooyen, EVP & CEO UK & Europe Sky said: "Our view at Sky is that there is absolutely no place for any kind of discrimination or racism in sport. As football's biggest partner in the UK, we want to drive change and make the national game more inclusive and truly representative of the whole country. It's time for us to do more - and we will. We are all in - to kick it out."
A statement from the Premier League said: "The Premier League is unequivocal in its belief that there is no room for racism in football or society and we stand alongside players, our clubs, partners and all those who come together to reject racism.
"We have longstanding and valued partnerships with both Kick It Out and Sky and are pleased to see this is another example of football uniting to show discrimination will not be tolerated in our sport. We will all continue our wide-ranging work to promote equality and celebrate diversity in football and wider communities."
Edleen John, the FA's International, Corporate Affairs and Co-Partner for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Director, added: "Congratulations to Kick It Out and Sky on their new partnership. We welcome this positive step as we all strive to create a game that is free from all forms of discrimination and a safe environment for all."
An EFL spokesperson said: "Any initiative that makes a positive contribution to anti-discrimination in football and wider society is to be welcomed and we look forward to seeing how the Sky Sports and Kick it Out partnership develops.
"As such an important broadcaster for EFL football in this country, Sky Sports' influence and reach will be a powerful tool as we collectively work to eradicate all forms of discrimination from our game."
Daily Mirror assistant editor Darren Lewis feels the new partnership between Kick It Out and Sky illustrates how the broadcaster is 'taking a lead' in providing vital capital for a campaign which has historically been underfunded.
"It's fantastic news for Kick It Out and the players it serves," he said. "For far too long such a hardworking body has been underfunded, criminally so in the eyes of many. For Sky to grab the bull by the horns is a wonderful thing. A lot of the people who do such great work will be delighted.
"We've seen in 2020 how crucial their role is, not just for incidents that involve A-list footballers but are as equally as important. We need a strong anti-racism watchdog in this sport.
"When we talk about education, what does it consist of? When we talk about committing money or resource towards the fight against racism, what does it consist of? Where is it going? This is something substantive that is happening. You could say other footballing authorities should have done this a long time ago, Sky is taking a lead."
Clinton Morrison accepts it will take time for the benefits of the campaign's grassroots education to be seen but that the partnership between Kick It Out and Sky represents a major step in the right direction.
"Kick It Out have been brilliant for years, getting this investment will only help the players. It's superb to team up together," he said.
"Social media is massive, fans within the ground as well. How do you deal with racism in the terraces? It can help with grassroots education, going into schools and teaching what is right and wrong. When I was growing up it was different, we used to accept things that we now know need changing.
"We are taking baby steps, it will take time. It might be for my kids, or grandkids, but things like this are positive. Sky has a huge platform and everyone is pushing for the right direction. This partnership will help make change. I can only give huge credit to Sky."