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Footie star praises club that put boot into racism

PUBLISHED: 11:18 22 May 2008 | UPDATED: 14:50 25 August 2010

DEFENDER Anton Ferdinand has hailed his club for taking steps to crack down on racism in football.

DEFENDER Anton Ferdinand has hailed his club for taking steps to crack down on racism in football.

The 23-year-old former Blackheath Bluecoat School student, who has strong family ties to Eltham, is West Ham United's ambassador for Kick It Out campaign, which works in the community to challenge racism.

West Ham is one of the first clubs to combat the problem in all areas of its operation, from stewarding to youth players, and has been rewarded with the organisation's Racial Equality Standard for Professional Clubs.

The England under-21 international said: "I am right behind the efforts being made to promote equality through football.

"There is so much more that can be done but this is a good step in the right direction.

"On behalf of the players, we all take this issue very seriously and are proud to support the work of Kick It Out. Football has so much influence and any way we can spread the anti-racism message has got to be applauded."

The standard is achieved when clubs can show they have measures in place aimed at achieving harmony and have reached Kick It Out objectives.

Ferdinand and his England international brother Rio, also a Bluecoat old boy, have English, Caribbean and Irish roots.

Lord Ouseley, Chair of Kick It Out, which launched in 1993, said: "Professional football clubs, players and supporters have been striving to play their part in campaigning to tackle racism in football for a decade.

"Our achievements so far should make us proud but they also provide stimulus for tackling exclusion and inequality. We believe the standard could herald a new era in encouraging clubs to ensure that off the field of play equality of opportunity, inclusion and fair treatment are at the heart of what they do."

fintan.quinn@archant.co.uk

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