‘Raise your Game’, part of the Kick It Out organisation’s campaign to rid football of racism and discrimination, opened at the Emirates on Tuesday.
Kick It Out is football’s equality and inclusion organisation. They work throughout the football, educational and community sectors to challenge discrimination, encourage inclusive practices, and campaign for positive change. They are independently funded by The Football Association (FA), the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), the Barclay’s Premier League, and the Football League.
This conference is part of Kick It Out’s overall campaign and is designed to provide advice and mentoring from football professionals for anyone wishing to enter the sport as a career. There will be more than 90 professionals from across the footballing community available and more than 300 people are expected to attend.
The Premier League has often been criticised for not having enough minorities in management and other leadership positions. Conferences such as these are an important step to improving that in the future by providing access to people already established in the world of football.
Gazidis, himself, is an immigrant with Greek roots and of South African origin. He opened the conference relating how he desired to be a footballer at a young age, but took the route of studying law at Oxford, ultimately becoming Arsenal Chief Executive.
He went on to discuss the importance of ‘inclusion and diversity’ in any organisation.
This is not only fundamental to the Kick It Out campaign, but a major foundation of Arsenal’s philosophy, especially from a leadership standpoint.
Speaking to the London Evening Standard, Gazidis said
“This is an important conference designed to help people from diverse backgrounds forge careers in the game.
“It’s important for clubs like Arsenal to attract people with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences and I hope this event provides the knowledge and confidence people need to take their careers forwards.”