The partnership between the SPFL, PFA Scotland and Show Racism the Red Card is to be highlighted in the opening round of fixtures this weekend as players, staff and officials are supported in showing their opposition to racism.
As football restarts after a four-month hiatus, the high-profile kick-off to the 2020/21 season will feature players wearing specially commissioned t-shirts promoting the work of Scotland’s anti-racism charity, which has worked with the SPFL for several years.
As well as a series of video messages featuring players from each of the 12 top-flight teams, players, staff and officials will be given the opportunity to take a knee or make a similar gesture prior to kick-off in the first round of matches.
Neil Doncaster, chief executive of the SPFL, said: “For many, many years, Scottish football has been enormously enhanced by players from hugely diverse backgrounds, who are amongst the most beloved and admired figures to have graced our game.
“It’s fitting therefore, that Scottish football plays a prominent role in helping ensure that education is at the heart of efforts to eradicate the scourge of racism in our society. That’s why we and PFA Scotland proudly support Scotland’s anti-racism charity, Show Racism the Red Card, which educates thousands of young people and adults annually and are committed to promoting their work throughout a Fortnight of Action in October, as well as in the opening round of Premiership fixtures.
“Players from all SPFL Premiership clubs have put together a video message which will be broadcast throughout match coverage and players will be issued with special t-shirts for the opening matches of the season, provided by PFA Scotland in conjunction with Show Racism the Red Card. Our three organisations have also worked together to enable players and officials who wish to show their solidarity with efforts to eliminate racial prejudice to do so prior to the opening matches of the season.
“Racism is abhorrent to any right-thinking person in our society today. The SPFL wholeheartedly supports the right of players, officials and others who wish to underline their opposition to such hateful beliefs and behaviours to ‘take a knee’ as we relaunch the game in Scotland.
“However, the manner in which people choose to express their opposition must remain a matter of individual free will and personal choice. It’s for that reason that it would be wholly inappropriate for the SPFL, or indeed any organisation, to compel anyone to make any specific gesture. As in other sports, individuals must be free to express their own views in other ways, and the SPFL respects their right to do so.”
Special Show Racism the Red Card t-shirts produced and distributed to clubs by PFA Scotland will be worn by players during their pre-match warm-up, to underline the message that racism of any form has no place in our game, or in Scottish society.
Immediately prior to kick-off in each game of the first fixture round, the match referee will blow his whistle to give players, staff and officials the opportunity to take a knee or make a similar gesture if they wish.