No Room For Racism

Kelly: Premier League offers opportunities to everyone

17 Feb 2023
Lloyd Kelly, No Room For Racism, AFC Bournemouth l

AFC Bournemouth defender talks about diversity, online abuse and the influence of Cyrille Regis as he gives his support to the No Room For Racism campaign

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Lloyd Kelly believes the diverse nature of the Premier League shows how sport can offer opportunities for people of all backgrounds to achieve their dreams.

The AFC Bournemouth defender was speaking about his early career and the equality work that is still required as part of his support for the Premier League's ongoing No Room For Racism campaign.

"The Premier League is such a diverse league, there's different races and ethnicities and I would say it's inclusive of everyone that wants to be a part of it," he says.

"It's such a special place where everyone has that equal opportunity to be able to create something of their own.

"If you look at the teams in the Premier League now, there's so many differences in everyone. It's something that we're only continue in that direction, it's huge."

At only 24-years-old, Kelly has the best years of his playing career ahead of him but he hopes that by the time he stops playing, online abuse will be a thing of the past.

"It is something that's being talked about a lot more," he says. "They're shining a bigger light on it and putting things in place to eradicate these problems.

"Of course it's gonna be hard to to stop everyone but I'm hoping by the time I retire the rate of people getting abused online is drastically lowered."

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In his early career, Kelly was guided and mentored by Cyrille Regis, who played a crucial role as a trailblazer for black players in English football.

Until his death in 2018, Regis was Kelly's agent and the former West Bromwich Albion striker was an enormous influence on his protégé both on and off the pitch.

"Cyrille was just an amazing person really," Kelly says. "He was someone that everyone had respect for and and looked up to.

"He was someone that not only I could talk football with, but life in general, and I saw him as kind of a father figure in that sense.

"He used to tell me, 'Whatever happens in life good or bad, just use it as motivation to achieve excellence.' That's something that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

"It was eye opening to hear his experiences, of course as time has gone on things have changed for the better, I would say but we're still not anywhere near where it should be."

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