Twelve months on from its foundation, VAR has grown into a powerful and hugely important part of the club. Take a look back at its activities and achievements over the last year.
ValiantsAgainst Racism (VAR)
Annual Review 2003 – 2004
The development of VAR
Valiants Against Racism (VAR) was formed in August 2003 and features representatives from Port Vale FC, Valiant 2001, PVFC supporters club, Vale Supporters Trust, PVFC Football in the Community Scheme, North Staffordshire Racial Equality Council, Staffordshire Police, New Vic Borderlines, PARINS, Federation of Stadium Communities, local councillors and a range of local community organisations. VAR is also supported by the national Kick It Out campaign and the Football League.
The aims and objectives of VAR
The members of VAR are working together to combat racism and to help establish Port Vale FC as a truly community club reflective of the diversity of the Potteries multi-ethnic communities. More specifically, VAR has developed and will seek to implement a clear and structured ‘Racial Equality Action Plan’ inclusive of the Kick It Out Racial Equality (preliminary) Standard for Professional Football Clubs and the REC REMB (Racial Equality Means Business) Award.
The VAR mission statement
– 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
– To 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
– To assist Port Vale FC in the implementation of a clear and structured strategy for racial equality and equal opportunities
– To establish Port Vale FC as a truly community club representative of the Potteries diverse multi-ethnic communities
VAR activities and events
October 2003: The first Port Vale FC anti-racist match-day
Activities included a banner parade and an on-pitch seven-a-side game involving local black and minority ethnic and white school-children, the distribution of 4,000 anti-racist leaflets, magazines and stickers, a PA message by former player Robbie Earle, articles in the local evening newspaper, match-day programme and fanzines and a prize draw. Port Vale players emerged onto the pitch wearing Kick It Out T-shirts which were then thrown into the crowd.
November 2003: The Port Vale History of Black Footballers Exhibition
VAR has produced a Port Vale specific ‘History of Black Footballers’ board to complement the national ‘History of Black Footballers Exhibition’. Since December 2003 the full exhibition has toured schools throughout North Staffordshire as part of the ongoing anti-racist educational work of New Vic Borderlines Theatre and Port Vale Football in the Community Scheme. A copy of the Port Vale ‘History of Black Footballers’ board is on permanent display at the club.
November 2003: The development of the VAR ‘Racial Equality Action’ Plan
The VAR campaign established the VAR ‘Racial Equality Action’ Plan which is based on the Kick It Out Racial Equality (preliminary) Standard and which is presently the key strategy document used to guide the activities of the VAR campaign. The areas of activity include stadium and outreach, policy and planning, and administration and management.
This event featured anti-racist theatre, music, poetry and educational workshops. The first ever showing of the Port Vale FC ‘History of Black Footballers Exhibition’. A presentation by the REC ‘Race into Work’ youth forum. A question and answer session with present and former Port Vale FC players, including Neville Chamberlain, Bob Hazell, Sam Collins and Adrian Littlejohn. An official signing of the VAR ‘racial equality charter’. The event was attended by more than 120 people including representatives from national football agencies, local community and local youth groups and school-children.
February 2004: A racial equality audit of Port Vale FC
The VAR campaign has assisted Port Vale FC to conduct a full racial equality audit of its administrative, coaching and playing staff at the club and its day to day working practices. As part of the ongoing work of VAR, the campaign will continue to work closely with the club to embed core structures for racial equality and for better working practice.
March 2004: On pitch presentation of the VAR ‘Racial Equality Charter’
A half-time pitch-side presentation and photo-opportunity featuring the Chair and Vice-Chair of VAR alongside the Chairman of Port Vale FC and local MP Joan Whalley. The presentation was supported by a PA announcement and an article and follow up article in consecutive match-day programmes promoting the work of the campaign.
April 2004: Cultural Awareness Training for staff at Port Vale FC
VAR and Kick It Out assisted North Staffs REC and PARINS to deliver a half-day cultural awareness training session for administrative, coaching and youth development staff at Port Vale FC.
June 2004: Formal adoption of a constitution and election of honorary members
Members of the VAR campaign formally adopted the VAR constitution and elected the Chair (Steve Bradbury), Vice Chair (Huey Lawrence), Treasurer (Jeff Love) and Secretary (Alison Vaughan) to positions as honorary members for the period 2004 – 2005.
Establishment of a clear policy for reporting and recording spectator racism at Vale Park Key representatives of Kick It Out, North Staffs REC, PARINS, Staffs Police and Port Vale FC have worked together to produce a policy document which outlines a common and consistent approach for dealing with incidents of spectator racism if and when they occur. The VAR campaign is presently producing a range of posters to be positioned at key points inside Vale Park to publicise the policy to fans.