Arsenal will wear an all-white jersey for their FA Cup match against Nottingham Forest on Sunday in a bid to raise awareness of the high levels of knife crime among young people in London.
The highest number of teenage murders in London in a year since recordings began was in 2021, most involving knife attacks.
The “No More Red” campaign is designed to build on the work the club has already done to provide safe spaces for young people and spotlight people who are making a positive difference.
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âI grew up at Thornton Heath in Croydon, I heard stories. There were always situations where you would hear something on the news about what was going on nearby,â Emile Smith Rowe told Sky Sports during the launch of the jersey.
“It would be a little scary then.
“If I hadn’t played football, what would I have done? Where would I be right now? Sometimes I think about it.
“I feel like at that point there was definitely a turning point for me. My friends were doing different things, maybe they were doing things they shouldn’t have done. .
âI know how hard it is as a youngster growing up in an area like this. Sometimes it is hard to say no because you don’t know what else to do. there that my family gathered and said to me: is not what you want to do. ‘”
The club requested permission for Arsenal’s women’s side to wear the shirt in their Women’s Super League match against Birmingham City on Sunday, but the request was denied. Instead, they will come out wearing white jackets.
âLeague regulations did not allow us to play in a new kit during the season, however, Arsenal’s women’s team will be supporting the campaign on the pitch by stepping out with a special White Anthem jacket during the season. of their game against Birmingham City on Sunday, January 19. 9 The game will start at 2 pm, “a statement read.
The jerseys will not be commercially available and Adidas and the club will reward them in place of people who make a positive contribution to their region.
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Last year a record number of teenagers were murdered in London.
It’s time to make real change, through real action.
Our white shirt is not for sale, not for profit. No more red. pic.twitter.com/jnmE4b0GpC
– Arsenal (@Arsenal) January 7, 2022
Players will also donate 10 jerseys worn at the FA Cup fixture to organizations working to tackle the root causes of knife crime and youth violence.
âWhen I was younger there weren’t as many opportunities to get away from certain things in life,â Ainsley Maitland-Niles told Sky Sports. âWe have to change the way we try to make a difference.
âFootball is a powerful tool in London and the world. People will listen and I hope they see that we are trying to do something positive.
âThere’s light at the end of the tunnel and there’s a different path they can take, instead of shedding a lot of blood. The message is really simple but it’s powerful at the same time. No more red.
“It’s a powerful statement.”
In addition to the jersey donation, Adidas and the club will also invest in creating and renovating safe places to play football, creating a mentoring program for creative talent in the community and providing regular access to the network of footballers. Arsenal talents that will help create tangible opportunities for young people.
“Don’t Stab Your Future” actor and founder Idris Elba joined the program as a mentor.
âFrom the moment young people leave school, until the moment they are home with their families, there is often a void, a dangerous peak of nothing to do, where nothing can easily become something. dangerous, “he said in a statement.
âIf there are still no options for that time after school, we will still see gangs forming. Let’s create options for these young people.