Academies to host second Awareness Weekend

21 Oct 2016
Sunderland v Newcastle United, Under-18, Academy Awareness Day 201016

PL academies to promote Equality Inspires in joint programme with Kick It Out

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Kick It Out and the Premier League will host a second Academy Awareness Weekend this week after the success of the inaugural event last year.

Twenty-three fixtures from the Premier League Academy Programme last year were dedicated to raising awareness of the Equality Inspires education workshops and celebrate the inclusive environments at clubs.

The Equality Inspires Programme was launched by Kick It Out and the Premier League to deliver equality and inclusion training for everyone involved with the club academies, including club staff, players and their parents and guardians.

The workshops encourage participants to reflect on key topics surrounding dressing-room "banter" and its potential impact, discriminatory behaviour and practices, with the aim to ensure the next generation of footballers are well-rounded and respect an inclusive environment.

"We want to ensure the young players coming up through the Academy system, their parents and guardians, and our club staff all work together to create an environment free from exclusion," said Premier League Head of Education Martyn Heather. "The Equality Inspires programme allows us to raise awareness of the importance of equality both through education and through playing the game itself.

"The creation of an academy player app and the Equality Inspires Award this season show the progression made in this area and signal the importance of this ongoing partnership between the Premier League and Kick It Out."

"Equality Inspires allows us to raise awareness of the importance of equality through education and playing the game itself"

Martyn Heather, Premier League

Over the weekend the work undertaken at clubs will be recognised, with Academies coming together to promote and recognise Kick It Out, as well as demonstrating young players' commitment to a game free from discrimination.

"The first season of Equality Inspires was a great success with Kick It Out visiting 17 of the 20 Premier League clubs and delivering 72 workshops to over 1,200 people involved in the Academy structure," said Kick It Out's Education and Development Manager Troy Townsend.

"The clubs bought into the concept of Equality Inspires and we want to continue having a real impact on young players, many of whom will forge a career in the game in some capacity. It’s crucial that we provide them with the tools to understand the importance of equality and inclusion and discrimination."

The Academy Awareness Weekend features the Saturday matches featuring Spurs, Chelsea, West Bromwich Albion, Stoke, Everton, Middlesbrough, Manchester United and Sunderland at Under-18 and Under-16 levels.

On Sunday, 14 clubs will host fixtures in recognition of the weekend, including Arsenal, Southampton and West Ham United at Under-9 to Under-15 levels.

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