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No Room For Racism

Origi: Dressing-room diversity is special

22 Mar 2021

Striker talks about the positive impact in being in a Liverpool squad full of different nationalities

Having suffered racist abuse as a boy, Liverpool striker Divock Origi knows from personal experience the damage it can do.

And he has given his support to the Premier League's No Room For Racism initiative by opening up about his experiences so that other children can better understand what racist abuse is when it happens and the harm it can do to people.

"I was 12-ish," Origi said of the incident in Belgium. "We had a game away and one of the parents racially abused me because I was having a good game basically and I was playing against his son."

"It was horrible. I wouldn't cry much but then I broke down. I couldn't play any more because it hurt me, right to the core."

"We all come together and speak the language of football and that's what makes it so beautiful"

Divock Origi, Liverpool

Origi was the only black player in the team and although he remembers that his team-mates were compassionate, he also recalls that they struggled to know what to say.

"We had a bus ride and it's quite far, so coming back I was speaking to them about it and they would ask me questions," he says. "It was confusing.

"I felt the compassion but they didn't really know what to do or what to say. I was just waiting to go and speak with my parents.

"The coach was speechless, he didn't know what to say. Obviously he defended me but he found it weird."

Diverse dressing room

Origi now plays for a Liverpool side which is more diverse than his boys' team and he sees the positive impact that the mix of cultures and races can have on one another.

"For me, it's special," he says. "When I go to the dressing room, you see the Brazilians, you see people from Guinea, you see English people. You see everything and it comes together in one dressing room.

"The interaction is very funny. I can see the different types of humour and the different types of expressing themselves and clothing.

"Sometimes Sadio Mane comes in traditional Senegalese clothing, which I love. Then you can see Andrew Robertson, he's very Scottish and you can see his influences.

"And we all come together and speak the language of football and that's what makes it so beautiful."

School resources

Origi was speaking as part of a series of free bespoke resources created for the Premier League Primary Stars programme, which aim to stimulate classroom discussions on diversity.

These can be accessed by visiting the PL Primary Stars website.

There are also resources for young people on the PL Kicks and PL Inspires programmes.

All Premier League fixtures last weekend were dedicated to the No Room For Racism initiative, in support of the United Nations' International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Reporting abuse

The Premier League's online abuse reporting system is helping players, managers and their family members who receive serious discriminatory online abuse. Each case is rapidly reviewed, reported to the relevant social media company, investigated and, where appropriate, legal action is taken. 

The League and clubs are also encouraging fans to play their part in the fight against racism by reporting it whenever they encounter it.

See: How to report racism

In January, the Premier League launched its No Room For Racism Action Plan, outlining a series of commitments aimed at creating greater access to opportunities and career progression for Black, Asian and other minority ethnic groups in football, and actions to eradicate racial prejudice.

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