Newcastle legends launch video as research says 70 different nationalities will be represented when the Premier League kicks off.
With the new Premier League (PL) season just days away, anti-racism campaign Show Racism the Red Card (SRtRC) are launching a new initiative that will celebrate migration across the UK and in particular the regions of the Northeast, West Midlands and Scotland.
Using education, facts and sporting role models, the initiative aims to challenge and address many of the myths surrounding migrants and celebrate the enormous contribution made by those who have sought asylum and sanctuary in the UK.
SRtRC will work alongside sector partners IMIX and Migrant Voice on this innovative new campaign. Sport is well known as an area that transcends barriers, builds friendship and trust, positively impacting people’s opinions and perceptions. The campaign will take learning from SRtRC’s current education programme, IMIX’s sector expertise in narrative change with Migrant Voice providing contributions from people with lived experience.
The campaign, called ‘Migration. Making Britain Great’, comes as research by Red Card suggests 70 different nationalities will be represented across 20 different clubs when the season kicks off on August 11th. Far from damaging the national team – who seem to be performing better than ever – the diversity has made the PL the envy of world football. Newcastle Utd alone has players of 12 different nationalities on its books this season and with expectations high after last season’s top four finish and with transfer window still open there could be more to come.
Founder of SRtRC and former Newcastle United legend, Shaka Hislop, has put together a video message about the new campaign, in it he says: “Here at SRtRC we’ve always used football as the foundation for all that we do believing that football and football stadiums are a fair reflection of our society today. We continue to challenge the narratives around immigration and the impact on British Society and we are calling on you to challenge those stereotypes that we see too often, that are damaging to who we are and all that we stand for.”
The sentiments were echoed by fellow former Newcastle Utd left-back, Olivier Bernard, who said: “I joined Newcastle United in 2000 when Sir Bobby Robson was manager. I have stayed in the region and always found a warm welcome from most of the Geordie public. I am proud to be an adopted Geordie. I have been involved in Show Racism the Red Card since 2009 and welcome this new campaign to combat the negative stereotypes around migration. As a migrant worker myself I have seen first-hand the contribution migrants make to Britain and indeed France. Both countries would be far poorer places (both culturally and economically) without immigrants.”
Ged Grebby, CEO at SRtRC, said: “The Premier League is the best league in world and much of that is due to the diversity of talent playing in it, with 70 nationalities across 20 clubs, it’s what makes the Premier League great. Show Racism the Red Card have over 27 years of experience in producing anti-racism educational resources using the high profile of professional sports personalities.
“Many of these players have expressed a wish to follow Gary Lineker’s lead in standing up in solidarity with some of the world’s most vulnerable people. SRTRC have a long track record of working with both Gary Lineker and Migrant Voice on a series of films to combat racism towards asylum seekers, refugees and migrants. We are proud to stand in solidarity with refugees and work with our partners to change the narrative around immigration being a negative for our society. The opposite is true: immigration makes Britain great, and we should be celebrating that.”
Nazek Ramadan, Director at Migrant Voice, said: “We are immensely proud to be partners with Show Racism the Red Card and IMIX on this incredibly important project. As football shows, immigration, and the diversity it brings, makes our country stronger and more dynamic. We are one team and as a team we all stand together.”