Linking football to equality

Equality and diversity were the words on everyone’s lips at Stamford Bridge when youngsters from a selection of local schools visited the stadium to showcase their understanding of the subject.

The programme, which is part of the Premier League Primary Stars initiative and organised by the Chelsea Foundation, involves school children from London and Surrey taking part in classroom sessions which include discussions on cultural and religious issues and how these impact day-to-day life as well as a club like Chelsea.

As a finale to the schools from London’s involvement, children aged eight to nine from a selection of the schools descended on Stamford Bridge to showcase what they had learnt by making pledges about equality and diversity.

Focusing on building resilience, self-esteem, understanding and developing values, recognising diversity and challenging discrimination, each school presented their ideas to judges from the club and Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) executive director Piara Powar.

The winners on the day were Servite RC Primary School but with the theme of the day equality and diversity, all students in attendance were recognised by the judges for their hard work and understanding of the subject.

This was Piara Powar’s first time on the judging panel and he was impressed with the level of understanding each school exhibited on the subject.

He said: ‘It has been a pleasure to be one of the judges. You are often surprised at how much kids really understand and too often at primary school age these subjects are ignored.

‘The Chelsea Foundation, through Premier League Primary Stars, are ensuring this is no longer the case and using football as the big hook. The kids are interested in everything to do with the club and then to link football to equality and see the kids use the team to emphasise this is very impressive and a credit to the Chelsea Foundation.

‘All of them understood the subject and demonstrated this understanding and it is great to see these kids engaging in this subject through the football club.

‘There were a lot of different ideas, including a group who acted out a little scenario, there were posters and the winning group in fact made a poster which featured the hands of their whole class and then responded really well to the questions from the judges.’

The Foundation’s equality and diversity workshops have been running for more than a year now with one of the highlights Eden Hazard’s visit to meet two of the schools last season.