During the resumption of the 2019/2020 season, Manchester United announced that the club would donate all proceeds from shirts, if fans chose to get 'Black Lives Matter' printed on their United shirts, to anti-discrimination organisation Kick It Out.
In agreement with Kick It Out, it was decided that all the money raised would be used in collaboration with the Manchester United Foundation to deliver anti-discrimination and inclusion classes across 48 partner secondary, primary and special schools, culminating in two football festivals next year. Referee coaching will also be delivered to local black and minority ethnic students, diversifying the pool of referees, as well providing the opportunity to achieve referee qualifications and earn income officiating matches in grassroots football.
As a result, over 1,000 young people will be engaged in the partnership, equipping them with equality, diversity and inclusion knowledge. The programme will unite communities and provide those from disadvantaged areas in Greater Manchester the opportunity to gain skills and qualifications through football.
Richard Arnold, Manchester United Managing Director and Chair of Manchester United Foundation, said: “At Manchester United we have a responsibility to uphold the values of the club by promoting equality, diversity and inclusion throughout our communities, led through the club’s Foundation and the work it does directly within schools.
“Our fans have been incredibly supportive of that and their contributions, by choosing to get ‘Black Lives Matter’ printed on their own replica kits, have created this opportunity to provide real tangible help for the essential work that Kick It Out does. We are delighted that they have linked up with the Foundation to deliver this inclusive programme.
“It’s important to us that our fans, our staff and those we work with in the community continue to embrace the benefits of diversity, encapsulated by our own All Red All Equal campaign. We want them to only ‘see red’ in their support of Manchester United.”
John Shiels, Chief Executive of Manchester United Foundation, said: “As part of the Take A Stand campaign, I’m delighted that the Foundation is able to demonstrate its commitment in the fight against discrimination, not with words but with action.
“We believe that innovative and effective partnership work is the key to uniting the communities in which we work, and our programme with Kick It Out sets out the perfect ambition, not only to educate young people, but also to empower them.”
Sanjay Bhandari, Kick It Out Chair, said: “Through our Take A Stand campaign, we want to create a culture where everyone belongs and individuals take personal responsibility for being part of the change. One of the ways to achieve that is through education and working on the ground with local communities, to promote a more inclusive society. Our partnership with Manchester United Foundation will help us achieve just that. We look forward to working together and helping even more young people gain new skills and qualifications through the power of football.”