Liverpool U23s helped to launch Kick It Out and the Premier League's third Academy Awareness Weekend as clubs from across the country come together to show support for #EqualityInspires.
The Academy Awareness Weekend will involve more than 30 clubs from the Premier League Academy Programme dedicating their fixtures to Kick It Out as well as raising awareness of the #EqualityInspires education programme, with the young Reds’ 1-1 draw with Arsenal on Friday evening acting as the launch.
#EqualityInspires was launched in 2015 by Kick It Out and the Premier League to deliver equality and inclusion training for everyone involved with club academies, including staff, players, and their parents and guardians.
The workshops encourage participants to reflect on key topics surrounding discriminatory behaviour and practices, with the aim of ensuring the next generation of footballers are at the forefront of creating an inclusive environment within the game.
The weekend will also see the launch of Kick It Out’s updated Academy Players app, which is specifically designed to provide players with a confidential way to report any form of discrimination they have been subjected to or witnessed.
The app provides users with the ability to attach video, photo and audio evidence to complaints to help support investigations into discriminatory abuse and behaviour across football. Available on all Apple and Android devices, the app will also allow players to provide feedback from #EqualityInspires sessions delivered by Kick It Out.
Troy Townsend, education manager at Kick It Out, was pleased that clubs would once again unite under the banner of #EqualityInspires.
“The Academy Awareness Weekend provides a fantastic platform for the Premier League and Kick It Out to raise awareness of the continual work being undertaken to support young players’ development both on and off the pitch,” he said.
“It’s great to be able to educate and support young players in their knowledge and understanding but also to hear their voices too.
“We are pleased to be able to launch the updated Academy Players app for the weekend. In this day and age, it is important to communicate through the power of generational tools. The hope is that the app will become an important information element for a player’s career.”
Martyn Heather, the Premier League’s head of education and welfare, added: “Premier League clubs work hard to ensure their academies are welcoming environments for young players, their parents and guardians.
“The Academy Awareness weekend is about showcasing that work and raising awareness of the importance of equality and diversity, and of creating environments free from exclusion.
“This weekend is about supporting young players and celebrating the diversity that exists within English football. It will provide a great opportunity to highlight the Equality Inspires programme and the benefits of the Kick It Out Players App that allows academy footballers to discreetly raise any concerns they have about discrimination.”