Ex England International to talk at our event

Ex England International, Liverpool and Leicester star, Emile Heskey will be discussing the challenges he faced growing up in football at the forthcoming event, At the Grass Root of Racism, being held at his former club, Leicester City FC, at the King Power Stadium on October 21st.

The Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Football Forum (BFF), who recently released a report, #ITSNOTFAIR – Grassroots Experiences of Racism, is holding its first event on Monday 21st October, 5.00pm to 9pm, and will give players, coaches, managers, parents and the public an opportunity to have further discussions on the important issue of racism in football.

Local lad and England football star, Emile Heskey is supportive of the event and said that,

“I will always have a love for my hometown, whether it be Leicester City Football Club or the grassroots football clubs that continue to develop and provide opportunities to people that look like me. Recently I have been travelling up and down the Country promoting my new book, but when asked by the BAME Football Forum to support an event to discuss the horrendous racial abuse that members of my community are still facing, I leapt at the opportunity”.

Emile then went on to say,

“If by sharing my experiences in football means that I can give hope to others who are suffering discrimination, I am more than happy to do so.”

Ex Leicester City FC and Sunderland FC player, Matt Piper, who will also be speaking at the event said,

“Being around young people through my work at the FSD Academy, I can see now more than ever, that football needs to take a hold of the racist and discriminative abuse that is prevalent in today’s game. The young and future stars of tomorrow deserve so much more than what currently lays ahead. As an ex professional, coach, radio presenter and ambassador of football, I am no longer surprised at the stories I hear, but I am deeply saddened.”


The Forum are calling for automatic action to be taken by local Police to address any racial abuse by an adult directed at those under 18 years of age, greater transparency and a review of disciplinary rulings and procedures at a County FA level, and for the Leicestershire and Rutland County FA to share more information regarding the number of clubs and players charged each year for racist behaviour.

The event, led by the BAME Football Forum will see attendees from the semi professional and professional game, the Local and National FA’s, Universities, the Police and the Police Crime Commissioners, the Local authority, National campaign groups and more.

Supporting the forum, Kirk Master said:

“We must do more to tackle racism in football at all levels and I am grateful to the BFF for taking the lead on this issue and strengthening the voice of BAME footballers across Leicestershire”.

Ivan Liburd, BFF chair, said:

“It’s great that we have someone like Emile coming to demonstrate that you can still reach the heights of English football through such adversity.  As a City, Leicester has one of the most diverse communities across the country, so it’s only right that the BAME Football forum stands up to represent those who continue to be victimised or held back due to issues such as their race or religion”.

“But who is taking accountability and addressing the obvious safeguarding issues and hate crimes being committed against children? We cannot wait for a child to be seriously injured or abused before we act. We cannot ignore the signs, we need action now”.

The event has also had a commitment from Leicestershire Police, who are keen to engage with the forum and learn more about how they can help progress this agenda locally.

Confirmed stall holders for the event and networking hour include, the Centre for Hate Crime Studies, Leicestershire Police, Leicestershire and Rutland County FA, Show Racism the Red Card, United Counties League and Emile Heskey.