Government To Tackle DiscriminationChris Patzelt
“A very warm welcome, everybody. Thank you very much for coming.
I think it is important to get together because I think the achievement that you all made in getting racism out of football over the last 20 years has been a fantastic achievement for Britain. Lots of countries haven’t managed to do it. I think by and large a huge amount of work was done and was very successful, and it is something we can be proud of.
The point of the meeting today is really to recognise the success of the past but to recognise we do have some problems still today and some problems that have crept back in. I have been very much admiring what a number of people around the table have been saying about how we need to act quickly to make sure those problems don’t creep back in, and I hope what we can agree today is to make sure that everyone who has an ability to deal with this issue takes the steps that they can. There are things for the government to do in terms of the training that we fund. There are things for football clubs to do, for football organisations to do, and I think if everyone plays their role then we can easily crush and deal with this problem.
Why it matters so much and why I think it is so important that we are here at Number 10 Downing Street is that what happens on the field influences what happens off the field so much. I take my son to football training in the local village when we are in the constituency and you absolutely see children as young as six imitating what they see and the behaviours that they see on the field, so this is not just important for football; it is actually important for the whole country.
There are so many footballers who are extraordinary role models for young people in our country that we want to make sure that football is all about a power to do good rather than anything else.
So I am sure we can crack this problem. It is great to have everybody here. It is great to have a Secretary of State who will be helping to lead the discussion after I have gone, but perhaps it would be good to start with David Bernstein and then hear from one or two others. Thank you very much, first of all, for everyone coming together.”