On Saturday the 27th March, the Valiants Against Racism (VAR) campaign launches its ‘Racial Equality Charter’ which is representative of the club’s commitment to the national Kick It Out ‘Racial Equality Standard’ and the North Staffs Racial Equality Council’s ‘Racial Equality Means Business’ award.
All of the VAR campaign’s key partners have signed up to the charter, and its associated ‘Racial Equality Action Plan’, which includes a stated commitment to:
- Combat racism at matches involving Port Vale FC and to create a safe and welcoming environment for fans from black and minority ethnic communities
- Encourage the greater inclusion of local black and minority ethnic communities in the activities of Port Vale FC as players, spectators and administrative and match-day staff
- Assist Port Vale FC in the implementation of a clear and structured strategy for racial equality and equal opportunities
- Establish Port Vale FC as a truly community club, representative of the Potteries’ diverse multi-ethnic communities
In support of these aims and intentions, the Valiants Against Racism campaign has already undertaken a range of activities including:
- Hosting the first-ever Port Vale FC anti-racist match-day, at Vale Park, in October 2003, as part of the national anti-racist week of action in football. This event involved distributing leaflets, magazines and selected prizes, and saw the players of Port Vale FC emerge onto the pitch wearing Kick It Out T-shirts.
- Working with the Port Vale Football in the Community scheme and the New Vic Borderlines Theatre to host a multi-cultural event, at Vale Park, in December 2003. This event involved anti-racist educational theatre, the launch of the Port Vale History of Black Footballers exhibition, and a question and answer session with present and former Vale players, including Neville Chamberlain and Bob Hazell.
- Working closely with Port Vale FC to conduct a full ‘racial equality’ audit of staff at the club, to identify areas for improvement and continuing training.
At the present time, the Valiants Against Racism campaign is engaged in the following activities:
- Working with PARINS towards the delivery of cultural awareness training to all administrative staff at the club
- Working with PARINS, Staffordshire Police and Port Vale FC to establish a clear and workable mechanism for reporting and dealing with fan racism at Vale Park
- Working towards establishing a clear constitution for the Valiants Against Racism campaign to enable the group better to deliver its key aims and objectives
All members of the Valiants Against Racism continue to work towards establishing Port Vale FC as a truly community club and are progressing well towards the stated aims and objectives laid out in the ‘Racial Equality Action Plan.’
Comments and Quotes:
Steven Bradbury, Chair of VAR
‘The work of VAR thus far has been marked by a tremendous commitment on the part of all our member organisations to combat racism and to encourage the greater inclusion of local ethnic minority communities in Port vale FC as players, spectators and administrative staff.
We have achieved a great deal in a short space of time but are fully aware that there is some distance to go before we can fulfil the aims and objectives outlined in the racial equality plan.
Promisingly, the Board of Directors at the club are supportive of the campaign and its intentions. Whilst the VAR campaign is working towards the implementation of strategies that will achieve local and national recognition, ultimately, we are about building bridges between the club and previously excluded communities to the benefit of all concerned’.
Ikram Ulhaque, Vice Chair VAR and ‘Race into Work’, NSREC
‘Since the start of VAR, a year ago we have seen a very positive transformation in the attitudes and perception towards racism at the Port Vale FC, the supporters, member organisations and the members of the local black and minority ethnic communities.
We believe the establishment of the multi-agency VAR has benefited the club in creating awareness about racism and the benefits of eliminating such evil from the club and society in general.
From the start the North Staffs REC has supported this campaign to establish VAR and feel the credit goes to the new administration at Port Vale FC for grasping this important initiative and at last taking racism seriously.
By signing the ‘Racial Equality Charter’ the club has made a firm pledge but the challenge now is to put it in to practice, which will ensure marked achievements in tackling racism, removing barriers and establishing ties within the local BME communities that will benefit the club and create community cohesion.’