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Kick It Out@25 launches at Wembley

MAN IN THE MIDDLE: KIO’s education manager, Troy Townsend, being interviewed by the Voice of Sport

REPRESENTATIVES FROM football’s most influential bodies gathered at Wembley stadium on May 21 to support Kick It Out as they move towards their 25th anniversary season.

This event, delivered in partnership with The Voice and The Football Association (The FA), offered key figures from The FA, Premier League, Professional Footballers’ Association and English Football League, along with the wider football family, a preview into the events to come in the year ahead as Kick It Out marks 25 years of campaigning for equality in football.

YOUNG VOICES: The Wembley Primary School Choir performed on the night

Last week the The Voice announced that it would be standing shoulder to shoulder with Kick It Out in this important year, as the paper marks an anniversary of its own – 35 years of championing diversity.

Speeches from Greg Clarke, chairman of the FA, Rodney Hinds, sports editor of The Voice, Roisin Wood, CEO of Kick It Out and Lord Herman Ouseley, chair of Kick It Out, all highlighted the journey football has been on since 1993 and how this march towards inclusivity on the pitch has been reflected in society.

ALLIANCE: KIO chair Lord Ouseley with the Voice’s Joel Campbell

However, Lord Ouseley was keen to impress on the audience that Kick It Out is not celebrating this landmark, but using it as an opportunity to assess the challenges to come.

He said: “Football is leading the way and can be proud of what it is doing. The importance and value of this contribution has to be put in the context of continuing bias, prejudice and hate related activity across society.

MR CHAIRMAN: FA chairman, Greg Clarke, addresses the audience

“If the powerful decision makers in the game want to end exclusion, inequality and divisiveness in the game, they can make it happen. That is a reality.

“The way forward is for football to lead on equality, inclusion and cohesion. It must reflect on what is has been doing for the past 25 years, what has been achieved, what is being done and what is still to be done.”

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