The far-right English Defence League, marching through Tower Hamlets last year.

Govt to counter influence of far right in football

Govt to counter influence of far right in football

By Oliver Hotham

The government is pledging £200,000 to anti-racism football charity Show Racism the Red Card, Nick Clegg announced today.

The charity fights to counter the influence of groups like the English Defence League (EDL) and the British National party (BNP) in football.

It is run by footballers and organises events which seek to offer anti-racist educational resources.

Announcing the decision, the deputy prime minister said extremism "must be challenged wherever [it is] found".

He added: "Our cultural touchstones, such as football, must not be perverted, the minds of our youth must not be corrupted by the insidious influence of the far right.

"Show Racism the Red Card have proven their ability to use football as a means to tackle racism and intolerance, and I look forward to seeing the results they achieve with this campaign."

The organisation plans several projects this year, including workshops which teach young people the danger of the far-right and how to counter Islamophobia. It will also attempt to assess the level of influence the far right might already be having.

Show Racism the Red Card was set up in 1996 by prominent football players, in an attempt to counter what they saw as the growing association of groups like the National Front to football.

Anti-racist campaigners are particularly concerned by the rise of the EDL, which is mostly composed of former football hooligans and uses a more down-to-earth rhetoric than that expressed in the political agenda of BNP.