THE UK’s largest pay-TV broadcaster Sky has become Kick It Out’s key broadcast media partner in the drive for inclusion in football and the battle against discrimination in all its forms.
The British broadcaster and telecommunications company has committed £3 million to football’s equality group in a groundbreaking deal, an official statement said.
Under the three-year partnership, Sky will partner with Kick It Out for its campaigns against discrimination and for inclusion.
The £3m investment will be a mix of cash and value-in-kind support, with Sky Sports using its channels to support the campaigns.
Besides committing to use its editorial reach, voice and platforms to campaign for change, Sky will also work on a series of initiatives with Kick It Out.
These will include partnering on educational initiatives, making it easier to report instances of discrimination online and inside football stadia.
It will also develop annual transparency and insight reports on a range of issues including tracking progress on football’s promises to diversify its workforce, according to a statement by Kick It Out.
Recently, Sky Sports partnered with Kick It Out on their #takeastand initiative launched during England’s match against Belgium at Wembley in October, and was a supporter in 2018 when Kick It Out celebrated 25 years of tackling discrimination.
The partnership has become possible after Kick It Out changed its constitution in the summer to allow the organisation to have commercial backers.
The Kick It Out chairman Sanjay Bhandari said: “We are absolutely delighted to have Sky on board as the first new strategic partner, as part of our new vision to be a galvanising hub for inclusive change in football.
“We share the same ambition to bring football together and make it a game where everyone feels that they belong. This is an enormously exciting partnership. We look forward to working together to deliver real change in the game we all love.”
Working throughout the football, educational and community sectors to challenge discrimination, Kick It Out encourages inclusive practices and campaign for positive change.
The independent charity, the ‘Let’s Kick Racism Out of Football’ campaign was established in 1993 in response to widespread calls from clubs, players and fans to tackle racist attitudes existing within the game. Kick It Out was then established as a body in 1997 as it widened its objectives to cover all aspects of discrimination, inequality and exclusion.
Internationally, Kick It Out has close links to FARE Network, and has been cited as an example of good practice by the Council of Europe, the European Commission, European parliamentarians and the British Council.
In June, Sky announced that it would invest £10m a year for three years to help to tackle discrimination, and would use its platform to highlight racial injustice.
Stephen van Rooyen, Sky’s chief executive for UK & Europe, said: “Our view at Sky is that there is absolutely no place for any kind of discrimination or racism in sport. As football’s biggest partner in the UK, we want to drive change and make the national game more inclusive and truly representative of the whole country. It’s time for us to do more — and we will. We are all in — to kick it out.”
Sky is Europe’s leading media and entertainment company and is part of the Comcast group. It has24 million customers across six countries.
The broadcaster offers bespoke and flexible services across TV, broadband, phone and mobile, with Sky Mobile recently named Uswitch’s network of the year 2020.