The Chelsa racism incident in which a Frenchman of Mauritanian origin, Souleymane, was pushed off a train on the Paris shows why we need to celebrate diversity.
Paul Elliott CBE, was on hand to receieve the FA Coach of the Year Award on behalf of Chris Powell, manager of Huddersfield Town FC.
Paul delivered an acceptance speech of effortless dignity and power met with awed silence. It would have been enough to pay tribute to Chris, “a man of the highest order, whose commitment to inclusion is the finest I have seen in 20 years” and to the management team of Queen's Park Rangers, their caretaker manager Chris Ramsey and director of football Les Ferdinand, who had legged it back from a losing trip to Hull to make the presentation despite knowing that Powell could not attend.
The widespread revulsion of the majority was good enough for him, and the gala gathering in Coventry was further evidence of how far we have come. “It demonstrates 21st-century, multiracial Britain. Sport is the catalyst and the key that engages and unites. For me it's the most potent weapon for breaking down barriers.
“The response to the Paris Métro incident has been so uplifting. Society has self-policed it, in the sense that it is so obviously unacceptable to people in the 21st century.
“This country is still the best in the world for me, and at the end of a challenging week this is a great upside. It fits in well because it is multisport, multicultural and multiracial. It celebrates black and minority contribution to sport in this country.
“People recognise the value of inclusion and diversity. You judge people by the quality of their character, not the colour of their skin. Sport does not discriminate. The ball is colour-blind, it doesn't judge. Sport is not about colour, it's about how good you are and this night celebrates that.”
Arun Kang, Sporting Equals CEO speaking at British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards added "These so called fans seem to forget that most of the Chelsea team are either black or foreign. Down the years Chelsea have had some fantastic black players from the first one Paul Canoville to the current team which includes Drogba, Ramires and Willian."
"The Lycamobile British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards have shown how much Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people have contribted to Sport. Football being the most popular sport in the world needs to take a lead in tackling racism and in the longer term it is about educating fans and clubs to embrace and value diversity."
Independent Article - Kevin Garside
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