Premier League

Kick It Out chairman Lord Ouseley outlines progress of campaign

Lord Ouseley: Discusses campaign

Lord Ouseley: Determined to drive racism out of football

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Kick It Out chairman Lord Ouseley is pleased with the progress of the campaign and is hoping for futher improvements in attitudes towards ridding football of racism.

The 68-year-old set up the project back in 1993 and although he is proud of what has been achieved since, he remains determined to reach the 'next level' in making the game safe and enjoyable for people from all backgrounds.

Ouseley told Sky Sports News: "We've come a long way in 20 years. It was very difficult to go to football and not be abused or even attacked - certainly harrassed.

"Now, I think the game has come to terms with the fact, after a lot of pressurising, hand-holding and soul-searching, that something has to be done and something has been done.

"Prejudice doesn't happen throughout the year and you tackle it in two weeks. You tackle it all the time."

Lord Ouseley

"Essentially, we're about education. It's about raising awareness and working with the next generation of fans and players as well as challenging unacceptable behaviour.

"We can't solve the problem of prejudice in society or bad attitudes, but we're able to get more clubs to accept responsibility and take action themselves, telling people what's not acceptable.

"There's still a lot to do but going to football and playing football is a much more pleasurable experience at both grass roots level and in the professional game. Now we really need to take it to the next stage."

As opposed to previous years, the 2013/14 campaign will continue throughout the whole season - dubbed by 'Kick It Out' as 'The Season of Action' - and Ouseley is keen for the focus to remain beyond its previously-designated month of October.

Ouseley added: "We're saying this is something you've got to be on top of for the whole season. It's an every day thing. Prejudice doesn't happen throughout the year and you tackle it in two weeks. You tackle it all the time."

Sensitivity

The most recent major issue surrounds Tottenham, with the use of the 'Y' word by Spurs fans sparking widespread debate - debate during which Prime Minister David Cameron controversially offered his opinion.

"Tottenham fans singing this as a badge of honour one can understand," added Lord Ouseley, "but they've also got to understand the impact it can have on those Jewish people who are offended by the use of the term.

"If there are fans who are Jewish in other grounds and you're singing that and they're offended, someone has to deal with the sensitivity of that offence. Also, there is the bigger issue of getting the fans that see it as a badge of honour to see the reaction from opposing fans.

"It's not just the 'banter' that you might get immediately. It's how it might turn into nastiness. Very often, the complaints we get from Jewish fans is when the individual fans then turn it over into something nasty as a backlash.

"We have to work with Spurs fans and not upset them in that they want to use it as a badge of honour while urging them to see its effect. I think the important thing is to work with the next generation so they have a great understanding of how may people feel offended."