West Ham United have shown their support for the Kick It Out campaign to clear football of racism and discrimination.
West Ham United welcomed young people of the club's foundation to Chadwell Heath where they would join up with present and former Kick It Out ambassadors Carl Jenkinson and Carlton Cole for an educational and entertaining gathering.
Troy Townsend, Education and Development Manager of Kick It Out, gave a presentation on racism in football before Jenkinson and Cole held a question and answers session with those in attendance.
Football nowadays is very much family orientated and people of all races deserve to attend or feature in games without being discriminated against. In recent years we have seen scandals, or race rows as the media called them, reflect badly on the English game.
Jenkinson praised the organisation for the work being carried out to make football a more comfortable and enjoyable experience for all concerned.
“It was a really good event and was good to get to know the young boys and girls from the Foundation,” Jenkinson told the West Ham United official website.
“They are nice people and it was a nice event for me and Coley to take part in.
“The aim of Kick It Out is to kick racism and discrimination out of football and I think us talking to the young people and building a relationship with them only helps to reach that target. They have the same aim as us as players so if we can work together and spread that message it can only help.
“I was asked to become a Next 20 ambassador and Kick It Out is a campaign that I could relate to and have known about since I was a kid, so it was really nice to be asked. I will help out whenever I can.
“As a football player these days, we have a lot of power to spread messages to people, so it’s up to me and the other 19 ambassadors to work to eradicate something that shouldn’t be in the game.
“My message would be to not stand for it. There are enough avenues to follow now to stamp it out and that is an area that has come on massively in the last 20 or 30 years. You are not alone, because there are people there to help you and get those guilty punished and get this out of football.
“You should not have to stand for it, so please report any prejudice you happen to experience and that way it can be dealt with.”
Cole, who today penned an open letter to West Ham fans after being released by the club, as per the Guardian, previously served as a Kick It Out ambassador. The 31-year-old believes the issue is being stamped out of football, but there is still more work to be done.
“It is right that everybody is taking action and, like Jenko, I would encourage anyone who experiences discrimination to report it and the perpetrators will be punished,” said the England international.