The Anti-Racist Project

Tackling racism through football

Tackling racism through football

Though it is one of the most accessible and racially-diverse team sports in the world, football continues to be an unequal game riddled with racial bias at both the professional and youth sports levels. Structural and systemic problems make the game inaccessible and unwelcoming to marginalised communities that often lack the money to participate, have no access to facilities or supportive coaches trained to understand anti-racist approaches and techniques.

To address these challenges and tackle the continual lack of action that follows the repeated condemnation of racism, a coalition of football industry leaders has teamed up with Common Goal to launch the Anti-Racist Project (ARP).

The initiative was launched in the United States with clubs from the top three divisions of US football - MLS' Chicago Fire, NWSL's Angel City FC and the USL Championship's Oakland Roots - along with U S National Team player and Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen and the 25,000-member United States’ supporters’ group, American Outlaws.

Since then, a growing number of clubs, brands, subject matter experts, and players has joined the ARP in our mission to fight racism on and off the football pitch.

Across four modules, the ARP aims to implement a series of activations, including an Executive Level Training Series for the leaders of clubs and football NGOs and the Anti-Racist League, a digital competition that trains and empowers football coaches to lead anti-racist programming in their communities.

In order to accelerate and scale the impact of the project, the members of the coalition are inviting all industry stakeholders interested in making football more equitable to join the project, first in the U.S. and then internationally.

The Goal

End racism in football: on the field, on the sideline, in the front office and across our communities.

The Strategy

To tackle systemic racism by providing anti-racism training across the professional and grassroots football industry.

How it Works

The ARP is a comprehensive, needs-based training curriculum that tackles systemic racism across all levels of professional and grassroots football.

Challenge

Structural and systemic discrimination has created inequality in access to and participation in football for marginalised communities, especially for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour).
Barriers to participation
BIPOC youth are excluded from football due to economic, geographic, and cultural barriers.
Low leadership representation
In youth and professional club front offices, BIPOC representatives lack equal access to leadership and decision-making roles.
Lack of awareness & allyship
Low number of BIPOC coaches; lack of training in anti-racist approaches or collective consciousness on racism across the professional and grassroots game.

Solution

Work against the personal and structural mechanisms and dynamics that cause and enforce racism, with:
An executive level, anti-racist training series
A series of intensive experiential trainings and education materials for executive staff in professional football & NGO leadership.
The Anti-Racist League (ARL)
A remote competition that unites the football community behind anti-racist action, is open to all teams and combines experiential learning formats with anti-racist training modules.
Advocacy, education & activation
A series of actions for members of the professional game to build awareness, solidarity to activate anti-racist practice and leadership.

Impact

Anti-Racist awareness and action is embedded into organisations at all levels of the game
Short Term
The inequities in football have been acknowledged and affirmative steps have been taken to address systemic inequalities in the game through ARP programming.
Mid Term
Increased education, empowerment, and access to tools for each stakeholder that is affecting positive and measurable change in their respective level of the game.
Long Term
Equal representation of BIPOC people at all levels of the game. Football becomes an inclusive and diverse environment that celebrates differences and encourages equal access.
Challenge
Structural and systemic discrimination has created inequality in access to and participation in football for marginalised communities, especially for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour).
Barriers to participation
BIPOC youth are excluded from football due to economic, geographic, and cultural barriers.
Low leadership representation
In youth and professional club front offices, BIPOC representatives lack equal access to leadership and decision-making roles.
Lack of awareness & allyship
Low number of BIPOC coaches; lack of training in anti-racist approaches or collective consciousness on racism across the professional and grassroots game.
Solution
Work against the personal and structural mechanisms and dynamics that cause and enforce racism, with:
An executive level, anti-racist training series
A series of intensive experiential trainings and education materials for executive staff in professional football & NGO leadership.
The Anti-Racist League (ARL)
A remote competition that unites the football community behind anti-racist action, is open to all teams and combines experiential learning formats with anti-racist training modules.
Advocacy, education & activation
A series of actions for members of the professional game to build awareness, solidarity to activate anti-racist practice and leadership.
Impact
Anti-Racist awareness and action is embedded into organisations at all levels of the game
Short Term
The inequities in football have been acknowledged and affirmative steps have been taken to address systemic inequalities in the game through ARP programming.
Mid Term
Increased education, empowerment, and access to tools for each stakeholder that is affecting positive and measurable change in their respective level of the game.
Long Term
Equal representation of BIPOC people at all levels of the game. Football becomes an inclusive and diverse environment that celebrates differences and encourages equal access.
"No child should ever have to worry about having access to football or be harassed playing just because of the complexion of their skin. The Anti-Racist Project is an important initiative to make sure that future generations will not have to deal with that worry while playing the beautiful game."
Tony Carter, Director of Programs, Soccer in the Streets

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