Greg Dyke marks FA anniversary by pledging to fight racism

AFP| Updated: Oct 27, 2013, 08:39 AM IST

London: English Football Association chairman Greg Dyke marked the governing body`s 150th anniversary by pledging to help stamp out the evil of racism.

Dyke was addressing guests and dignitaries, including FA president Prince William and FIFA president Sepp Blatter, in a speech at a gala dinner in London on Saturday and he used the occasion to insist his organisation is determined to drive racism out of football.

The issue has become a hot topic again this week after Manchester City`s Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure was subjected to racist abuse from CSKA Moscow fans during a Champions League tie in Russia on Wednesday.

"It is the 20th year of the kick racism out of football campaign - congratulations to Kick It Out and to the outstanding work it has done," Dyke said.

"It has achieved real success but we all know there`s more to be done and the FA mustn`t stop here.

"Of course things will change, nothing stays the same. But where they do it must be for the better."

The FA chose the Grand Connaught Rooms in Holborn for their anniversary dinner as it was at the same venue where the first rules of the game were drafted by Ebenezer Cobb Morley a century and a half ago.

Dyke saluted the efforts of the FA to remain strong guardians of the game and promised to continue that tradition, saying: "There has been a huge historical focus this year, and rightly so.

"We should be proud of what our founders created and what The FA has continued in their name. But we should also be proud of what we are currently doing.

"Our consistent theme across the year has been to celebrate The FA`s support for the grassroots game which has always been fundamental to The FA`s role in football.

"At every turn, we have highlighted the work done right across the country by 400,000 volunteers and also highlighted what is being achieved with the £100 million we put back into the game every year.

"We are all privileged to spend our days involved in football, to wake up in the morning and go to bed at night with football in our lives. We sincerely owe a debt of thanks to Ebenezer Morley and his contemporaries for the work they did 150 years ago.

"But with that involvement comes responsibility, responsibility for ensuring that football continues in good health, responsibility for ensuring it continues to thrive.

"Here in England The FA`s task is to ensure as many people as possible can get involved in the game."

Dyke also highlighted the importance of the Premier League and the history of the Football League, formed 25 years after the FA.

"We must never underestimate the part the Premier League plays in promoting English football at home and particularly abroad," he said.

"It is England`s biggest sporting export. We should also recognise the fantastic tradition of the Football League`s 72 clubs. Many happy returns to the League on its own 125th birthday this year."