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Red card for racism

A new writing competition offers students the chance to meet a star footballer, writes Yolanda Brooks

A face-to-face interview with a Premiership footballer is on offer to secondary students as the prize in a writing competition during the National Anti-Racism Week of Action in Football. The annual event, organised by the Kick It Out campaign, celebrates the achievements of footballers from ethnic minorities and highlights the problems of racism in the sport.

Pupils from Years 7, 8 and 9 are invited to write an essay or article on the themes of racism, diversity and history, using background material supplied by Kick It Out. Other prizes in the competition include places in the press box at a Premiership match, football kit and equipment for schools, and signed T-shirts.

Despite the fact that the England international squad features a number of black players, including Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole, and many of the Premiership's most successful players are from other countries, racism on the terraces is still a problem.

In April this year, the Union of European Football Associations considered bringing action against the England team and the English Football Association after fans screamed abuse at Turkish players during a Euro 2004 qualifying match. Supporting the campaign, Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs says: "You come across the odd bit of racism both in primary and secondary school. As a kid it effects your whole life, so it's not very nice when it's happening to you. Teachers can help because it can affect your work and make your life a misery."

As well as the writing competition, schools are being encouraged to hold their own events to raise awareness of these issues. All 92 league clubs will be involved in events and hundreds of community groups are expected to take part.

The closing date for entries for the writing competition is November 3. Full details are on the Kick It Out website. The Week of Action runs from October 16-28. Tel: 020 7684 4884


Look out for details of a new scheme to send professional footballers into schools in next week's PE and sport Subject Focus in TES Teacher

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