Peacock and his team show racism the red card
Tuesday 03 July
FIFPro and Show Racism the Red Card have welcomed a special report by Gavin Peacock. The former English professional footballer of among others Chelsea, Newcastle United and Queens Park Rangers is fighting racism in Canada.
Four years ago, former midfielder Gavin Peacock (44) moved from England to Canada. There, he became a football (soccer) coach for a high school team. With his players, he organized a special anti-racism campaign based on the principles of Show Racism the Red Card and FIFPro. Show Racism the Red Card and FIFPro are partners.
Gavin Peacock has been involved with Show Racism the Red Card for many years, and currently is a honorary patron of SRtRC. As a coach, he witnessed various racist incidents during matches of his high school team. His players have many different nationalities: Mexican, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, German, Spanish, Italian, South African, American, Canadian, British, Scottish. Aiming to stop the harassments, Peacock decided to take action.
Gavin Peacock reports: ‘Friday 8th June was a great day, not just because Euro 2012 kicked off, but because Canmore Collegiate High School Soccer team won a regional tournament which made them the League and Zone winners for the first time in their history.’
‘You laugh! Well, Canmore (Alberta, Canada) is the place I have lived since leaving the UK in 2008 to pursue some theological studies as I moved into full-time church ministry. When I arrived, I was asked to coach the High School team for which my son, Jake, played. Unfortunately I noticed a lot of racism in the school league and the underlying problem of prejudice in several of the games we played, in different areas across Southern Alberta.’
‘My son was born with one hand and he was an obvious victim from players (and some parents in one match…).'
'It came to a head this season with one of our Korean players being verbally abused to his face in a match.’
‘It has been and is being dealt with and the support of the many messages from players and ex-players in the UK who are connected to Show Racism the Red Card has been such an encouragement to the Korean young man and has been instructive to the rest of our players.’
‘As in many instances like these it has raised awareness and on June 8 we hosted the regional zones tournament with a clear anti-racism ethos, which all the teams embraced. They all had their picture taken by a Show Racism the Red Card banner which was homemade by Canmore Collegiate High School. Even the local newspapers picked up on it, all mentioning Show Racism the Red Card in their articles. It was a start; and that is ultimately why it was a great day!’
‘Winning the tournament was just the icing on the cake. But our young men learned a bigger lesson; what it is to stand firm for what is right through the medium of football. Racism cannot be tolerated.’
‘It has been on my heart to bring in some of the teaching of Show Racism the Red Card which I have been involved with as a patron for many years. And next school year I hope to take Show Racism the Red Card material into schools and continue the work.’
‘As a Christian pastor I know that all people are created in the image of God and for that very fact they should be afforded equal dignity, value and respect. Prejudice and racism are a complete subversion of that. So know this, that when a cause is just it will be fought for, whether that be at a world sporting event, like Euro 2012, or even in a small mountain town in Southern Alberta.’
Tony Higgins, FIFPro anti-racism spokesperson:
‘I'm pleased to note that our partner Show Racism the Red Card's message has spread to many parts of the world and in this case helped to provide a solution to racist problems in Canada. The intervention of ex Chelsea star Gavin Peacock is very welcome and shows the valuable work that players and former players can do in combating this evil in our game.’
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