Fulham Football Club's year-round commitment to rid football of racism was highlighted on Wednesday when over 70 children from schools in the Borough's of Lambeth and Kingston visited Fulham's New Malden training ground as part of the Club's Anti-Racism week, which is being sponsored by Western Union and GMB.
As racism reared its ugly head again at last weekend's England game it was a timely reminder to them that racism, in any walk of life, is unacceptable.
The children where given the opportunity to ask questions to Alain Goma, Lee Clark and ladies team player Sanchia Duncan, about their experiences of racism in the game. In a half hour question & answer session the kids where given valuable advice by the players on racial awareness and tolerance.
After the event Alain Goma said "We are considered as role models for the kids to follow and we have to explain the right values to them. We are in a good position to be heard because the children want to be footballers and it is easier for them to listen to us than their parents or teachers."
Assistant Academy Director, Paul Nevin, then spoke to the group about life for the young players that make up the Club's Academy - their training schedule, nutrition and their pursuit of a career as a professional footballer. A tour of the training ground facilities followed including a look at a 'History of Black Footballers Exhibition' that had been erected in the players canteen.
The highlight of the day for some of the kids was the chance to watch their footballing heroes train before leaving for home armed with 'Show Racism the Red Card' Fulham posters and badges. 'Show Racism the Red Card', a body that works alongside football's 'Kick it Out' campaign, showed their educational video during the day.
Later in the week Fulham FC development coaches will provide coaching before the Fulham v Manchester United game for children from our Lambeth Community Schemes. The same children will parade anti-racism banners at the game and players will warm up wearing anti-racism t-shirts.
Fulham's Community Department runs extensive football development and community development projects in seven Boroughs within London and Surrey.