Football launches 'Stand Up' to racism campaign

Football Federation Victoria (FFV) and VicHealth have joined forces to empower football clubs and their players, officials and fans to respond when they witness racism.

Don’t Stand By. Stand Up! focuses on racism in all its forms, from subtle exclusion, to overt verbal abuse on and off the field.

The campaign is supported by A-League and W-League ambassadors - Melbourne Victory’s Gulcan Koca and Andrew Nabbout, and Melbourne Heart’s Jason Hoffman.

The official launch will kick off at 2pm on Sunday at Knights Stadium, Sunshine, followed by the NPL match between Melbourne Knights and Port Melbourne Sharks.

An online survey of 620 FFV members from 180 Victorian football clubs found 96 per cent were willing to promise to take a stand against racism.

However, almost seven in 10 survey respondents were unsure of their club’s policies and procedures for reporting a racist incident.

A further 79 per cent indicated they would be interested in finding out more information about how to report a racist incident.

FFV’s chief executive officer Mitchell Murphy said that it was extremely positive that the research shows a willingness to promise to take a stand against racism as a bystander.

“As a result of these findings, FFV’s Don’t Stand by. Stand Up! initiative will seek commitment from clubs to undertake measures to educate their officials, players and spectators about racism and how to stand up and respond effectively and safely,” Murphy said.

“In a nutshell, FFV will be asking clubs to pledge to become champions of the Don’t Stand by. Stand Up! bystander program.

The bystander program has been endorsed by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC)

FFV’s 343 clubs will be invited to take the pledge as part of this campaign.

Clubs that pledge will be required to nominate at least two club officials to undertake FFV’s updated Respect and Responsibility course and complete an online survey to test knowledge of bystander intervention.

Pledging clubs will also be required to provide evidence they have communicated the initiative to members, read and understood FFV’s policies and procedures on racial vilification and promoted the initiative at club facilities, websites and social media.

The first 50 clubs that pledge will receive merchandise for 100 players, official recognition from FFV and an opportunity to win a visit from an ambassador. There will also be $250 vouchers from Sportsmart to giveaway.