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No Room For Racism

Antonio: Diversity makes the world a better place

21 Mar 2021

West Ham star says coming together of different cultures in dressing room sets a positive example

As part of a changing room containing people from a variety of nationalities and backgrounds, West Ham United forward Michail Antonio knows how important it is for them to come together to work for a common goal.

And by taking the time to understand different cultures, Antonio has seen for himself how strong friendships can be formed.

"Having a diverse changing room shows that everyone all over the world can be in one changing room and get along," he says.

"Some of my closest friends are Angelo Ogbonna, who is Italian, and Pablo Fornals, who is Spanish. His English isn't the best but there's enough for me to understand what he's got to say.

"We can go out and have a meal and be able to speak to each other all the way through it. I'm trying to learn Spanish now because all these players are coming in and I shouldn't expect them to speak English, even though we are in England. I feel like I should try and make an effort to learn how to speak [their language]."

Understanding diversity

As part of the next phase of the Premier League's No Room For Racism initiative, Antonio is one of the leading players who have created educational resources that will help inspire and teach young people about diversity and resilience.

It is part of a series of educational resources that are available to more than 18,000 primary schools through the Premier League Primary Stars initiative as well as to young people on the PL Kicks and PL Inspires programmes.

Antonio says that to tackle racism people should seek to emulate what happens at West Ham and embrace the different backgrounds and cultures of those around them.

"Young people understanding diversity is probably one of the most important things in life," he says.

"It doesn't matter what colour you are; black, white or Asian. Everyone's culture has taken in parts of different cultures and, if you really think about it, it's making the world a better place by these different cultures blending and becoming one."

This weekend, all Premier League fixtures are being dedicated to the No Room For Racism initiative, in support of the United Nations' International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

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