Knights, Kingz to wear anti-racist shirts

Melbourne Knights and the Football Kingz will wear red warm-up shirts ahead of Friday nights game to show their support for banning racism in football.

The move comes as all fans at NSL games this week will be handed red cards when they pass turnstiles reading “give racism the red card”.

Kingz general manager Chris Turner was quoted by the NZPA saying the move by Soccer Australia is in line with the push by FIFA to eradicate an ugly side of the sport that is becoming increasingly prevalent.

The move follows Kingz’s German striker Dennis Ibrahim being subjected to derogatory and racist comments in a recent home match at Ericsson Stadium.

Melbourne Knights’ defender Ransford Banini has also copped racial abuse.

Banini appeared at a forum this week to help push the anti-racism message.

The Kingz raised concerns with Soccer Australia and the club involved after the Ibrahim incident and Turner said the issue had been laid to rest.

“We have no time for that sort of thing and if we felt it was serious enough we would have taken it further,” Turner told NZPA.

“The player concerned didn’t want to take it further. If it was really serious then we would have pursued it and I must say if our players get involved we would come down real hard on it.”

Turner said a Soccer Australia initiative for season pass holders to sign a code of conduct was a step towards stamping out racist barbs and chants by ethnic minorities.

“I don’t think it is really a problem for us or our fans because our crowd are quite good natured and they’ve got good chants,” Turner said.

“But it is an issue world wide for FIFA and Soccer Australia are concerned.”

Soccer Australia general manger Stefan Kamasz admitted racism was a concern.

“It is a problem and has been a concern for several years,” Kamasz said.

The Kings-Knights game will be shown on the big screen in the Batcave at Knights Stadium from 7.30pm.

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