Students show racism the red card

14th April 2015

Students from Sheffield Hallam University are helping to kick racism out of football by teaming up with Football Unites Racism Divides (FURD) - a community youth project which aims to bring people of all backgrounds together to enjoy the beautiful game.

The students, who are all in their final year of a sport, culture and society degree, have been interviewing the staff and young people at FURD about their take on racism in football. Some of the students got involved in helping FURD to tackle the problem by bringing together isolated communities for tournaments and leagues. The students also found time to take part in a couple of friendly matches and coaching sessions with the young people at FURD - who are mostly refugees and asylum seekers. Their work with FURD was organised by Sheffield Hallam's Venture Matrix scheme and formed part of the students' course which required them to produce a piece of sports journalism which investigates a relevant social issue. The decision to focus on the problem of racism in football was inspired by a piece of research which has revealed the relative lack of black and minority ethnic coaches in professional football, as well as recent news about Chelsea supporters being banned after an incident on the Paris Metro. Module leader Beth Fielding-Lloyd said: "Part of the ethos of their course is linking wider social issues in sport to ordinary people's everyday experiences. "The challenge for students here was to produce sport journalism that investigates issues that are current and newsworthy whilst also discovering how they impact on people within their community." Matt Stone is a third year sport, culture and society student who has been involved in the project. He said: "Of course there is an ongoing problem with racism between supporters and players and it is very disappointing and saddening to see news stories about racist incidents in the media. "Projects like FURD's 'Group Belonging' are fantastic in bringing people from all different types of backgrounds together to play a universal sport where the language you speak and your background doesn't matter." Chris Nicholls is also on the sport, culture and society course. He added: "One of the main things I took from my trip to FURD was that everyone who took part was treated with respect, and was encouraged to treat each other with respect. This is so simple but has such a positive impact because it allows communities who wouldn't normally interact, to take part and work as a team." For press information: PR officer Nicole Kelly in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 2811 or email n.kelly@shu.ac.uk

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