UEFAs Only A Game? exhibition at World Museum Liverpool
recently played host to a debate on the future of European football.
UEFA teamed up with Kick It Out, footballs equality and inclusion campaign, to debate the following question: Is it really such a beautiful game? addressing the issue of why racism still haunts European football and what we can do to stop it.
A panel of former players, anti-racism activists, policy-makers and journalists - including former Tottenham Hotspur player and BBC pundit Garth Crooks OBE, Daily Telegraph sports writer Henry Winter and UEFA spokesman William Gaillard - addressed the question of racism in European football.
The debate links in with UEFAs Only A Game? interactive exhibition, which invites visitors of all ages to plunge into the emotions of football, and reflect on the social and cultural aspects of the modern game.
Garth Crooks has been one of football's most vocal supporters of anti-racism initiatives, and believes that organisations such as Kick It Out have had a genuine impact on the sport. He said:
"There has been a huge shift in the attitude of people within the game with regard to black players and their contribution to the game. It's much healthier."
The first half of the debate saw each panellist giving their views on racism in European football, and suggesting the steps that could be taken to address the problem.
The second half was open to an invited audience to question the experts, and also to offer their views on how to kick racism out of the game. Panellist Henry Winter added:
The key issue is educating the fans. We need to invest more money in education and punish the clubs who are not actively cracking down on racism. On this issue UEFA is definitely making a difference.
The Only A Game? exhibition at World Museum Liverpool brings together some of the most prized trophies and memorabilia from across the continent: All four of UEFAs most prestigious trophies have been on show.
UEFA, National Museums Liverpool, the Northwest Regional Development Agency and the National Football Museum are proud to present the exhibition, which runs until 26 April 2009 at World Museum Liverpool.
The full panel of six experts included:
Professor John Hughson Professor of Sport and Cultural Studies at UCLAN and director of the International Football Institute
Garth Crooks OBE Former player and BBC sports pundit
Henry Winter Daily Telegraph journalist
Rachel Brown Everton and England Ladies goalkeeper
Piara Power Director of Kick It Out
William Gaillard UEFA spokesman