Charlton Board Anti Racism Boat

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South African striker Shaun Bartlett has spoken candidly to youngsters about his experience of racism within football.

As he cruised along the river Thames to Monday’s derby against Fulham on the Red, White and Black Day boat, he took part in a question and answer session on the issue of racism. He was joined by former defender and the pioneer of the national Let’s Kick Racism Out campaign Paul Elliot as well as chairman of the Premier League Dave Richard and musician Ms Dynamite.

‘Unfortunately I was the subject of racist abuse while I was playing in Switzerland, we had a UEFA Cup game in Ukraine and I was one of few black players on the pitch.

‘Any player will tell you that they try to block it out, but it does hurt you a bit inside because you don’t expect it and it’s something that we do not want to have happening in football.

‘Fortunately for me I scored two goals on the night and we won the game but at the end of the day that was still in the back of my mind and it wasn’t a great experience for me, but it made me a stronger person because of it.?

‘We need to eradicate this problem totally.

‘Fortunately for players in the UK we don’t encounter it as much, but abroad there is still a minority of people that try to encourage racist behaviour and I think it’s important that we take this campaign across Europe and educate them about the problem. Hopefully we can find a definite solution to it.?

Charlton community liaison officer Ben Tegg, who organises the event, said: ‘The club’s commitment to anti-racism work is as strong as ever.

‘The project has been running for 13 years now and the Charlton Athletic Racial Equality (CARE) partnership is working hard in schools across Greenwich to ensure we continue to help make a difference in this field.?

‘The boat was a novel idea but it was also an excellent way of including young people representing clubs across London. It also gave the young people the chance to question people at the top of the game regarding the work taking place to ensure that racism is challenged in our national game.?

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