The global Black Lives Matter campaign has given greater exposure to the extent and insidious nature of the structural and systemic racism that exists in all strata of our society and has provided renewed impetus to the urgent need to challenge and eradicate racism in all its forms and wherever it is found. Sadly, sport has not been immune from this, especially so in the case of football. For too long, there were attempts to hide and mitigate racist attitudes and actions within the game, but thanks to the growing profile and visibility of black and minority ethnic players both past and present – Viv Anderson, Cyrille Regis, Jimmy Carter, Les Ferdinand, Pat Nevin and Ruud Gullit to name just a few – and almost three decades of education and campaigning led by Kick It Out, attitudes have changed.
However, now is not the time to be complacent – there’s still a great deal left to do. Throughout his entire journalistic career, leading sportswriter Harry Harris has championed the fight against racism in football. Now, within these pages, he shines a timely spotlight on the Beautiful Game, revealing the forces within football that have both helped expose and challenge racism – and, at times, sadly, hinder more rapid positive change.
Over the years, Harris has gathered an impressively large network of contacts within the game – players, managers, media pundits and association personnel among them. Many of them, such as Greg Dyke, Glenn Hoddle, Ivor Baddiel, Mek Stein, and Jermain Defoe, have spoken exclusively to Harris for this book. Red Card to Racism is not only a welcome addition to the ongoing debate surrounding ending prejudice within football but also a timely and necessary addition to the wider discussion of the need within our evermore global multicultural society for all people, whatever their beliefs, gender, identity, sexuality or ethnic background, to be treated with equity, humanity and respect.
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