Arca and Huth help 'Show Racism the Red Card'.
By Elise Brunton
Friday 15 Feb 2008 14:48:32
Browse all GENERAL INTEREST articles

Julio Arca and Robert Huth lent their support to the Show Racism the Red Card campaign last week by taking part in a Q and A session at the Riverside.


Pupils from local schools got the chance to quiz the players on their views and experiences of racism as part of a day of anti-racism events which also included presentations from Councillor Brenda Thompson (Executive member for children, families and learning) and Idrees Rashid (Chair of multicultural harassment unit on the community reporting mechanism).


The pupils were also shown a film of high profile footballers supporting the campaign, and took part in a short activity exploring racism and stereotypes.


MFC, Newcastle United and Sunderland FC are all working together in the fight against racism in football, and the panel also included ex Newcastle player John Anderson, as well as former Boro hero Dean Gordon, and was chaired by former Mackem Kieron Brady.


Prizes for the best questions included match tickets for a future Boro fixture, and a Boro shirt signed by the Boro squad, and competition was stiff for the winners as all the questions were intelligent and relevant.


The panel took turns to try to answer such questions as:


“How come only certain players get picked on by racism?”


“Since the programme started do you think it’s got better?”


“What is the best team for showing racism the red card?”


“When do you think England will have the first black or Asian manager?”


“Have you had the experience of racism and how did you deal with it?”


“Why do football players get racist comments?”


“If you ruled the world and could do one thing about racism what would you do?”


“Do you get more racism before or after you become a footballer?” and


“What action should be taken against clubs which display racism?”


Kieron Brady, said: “I’m now quite experienced at chairing these events and I tend to think I have heard everything but actually they will come up with new things.

Young people are aware that there is racism and that it is wrong, it is a powerful message.

“Football is an enemy of racism, the nature of it is different people coming together.


“You don’t need knowledge to argue against racism, you just need common sense.”

Show Racism the Red Card is part of the FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe) network.

It is an anti-racist charity established in January 1996 with the aim of using Professional footballers as anti-racist role models

The campaign has been able to involve hundreds of top footballers and managers, and has harnessed the high profile of these role models to combat racism. (From the campaign’s official website).

Ged Grebby, SRTRC Coordinator for the UK, (and Newcastle fan) spoke about the ‘Mido situation’ where Newcastle fans chanted racist comments (and other abuse) at Mido. He told Fmttm,

 We are doing a DVD at the moment and we interviewed Mido and Southgate, Mido was obviously very hurt and angry by what he heard (Newcastle supporters called him a suicide bomber, as well as a paedophile).

“It was a small minority, but it was a disgrace.”


Mr Grebby also touched on racism in other sports, and the racism suffered by Lewis Hamilton recently, he said “I was asked to comment and hadn’t seen the pictures. But when you see them holding the banners (abusing the Hamilton family) and laughing… Possibly they were morons and didn’t know what they meant, but I don’t believe that."

Incredibly, despite his position, Mr Grebby said that in his view it was only the racist abuse by "a small number of idiots" which was a problem, dubbing the mass chanting of “Mido is a Paedo” just ‘football banter!'

Having signed an autograph for every single child present, and being filmed saying ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ in their respective languages, Arca and Huth took time out to be interviewed.

Boro Captain Julio Arca said, “It is getting more important and I will help as much as I can to make this campaign better."

He said he hadn’t experienced racism personally, but had "heard things, and it's not nice."


Speaking about the club’s recent good run of form, he said: “The last few games we have been playing some good football, 7 points in last 9 games and a good run in the cup too.


“There’s confidence now and we have to keep this run going as long as we can and keep going.


“I’m happy that the team is doing well.”


Team mate Robert Huth, said: “I was amazed how many kids turned up. I thought they wouldn’t be that interested but they were there and it’s good to get the message across.


“I think I do have to accept some abuse [as a high profile footballer] but when it becomes racism in football or in life you have to put a stop to it.


“They [children] definitely look up to sports people but in general there’s too much racism going on and we need to stop it.


All the kids watch the football, I think for them it’s easier to understand if someone they know says something against racism.


It’s important for footballers or whoever too but it's important if you want racism off the streets too.”


And as far as the team goes, Huth is careful to give credit to his team mates. When asked if Boro’s recent surge in form was due to his return to the squad, he said: “No not at all, I have said it before, it’s not just us it’s the whole team but it starts from the front.”


However he is candid about Boro’s less than stellar start to the season, saying:


 “If we had done that [played well and got results from the beginning] we wouldn’t have the bad run!


“Now it’s good, hopefully we’ll go on a run, become difficult to beat.


“We have been doing well recently and I’m just looking forward to another game.”

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