William hails anti-racism campaign
Sunday 27th October 2013, 1:31AM GMT.
The Duke of Cambridge has said there is ” sadly more work to do” to stop racism in football.
Speaking at a gala dinner to mark t he 150th anniversary of the Football Association last night, William praised the organisations attempting to remove discrimination from the game.
“I am proud of the work of Kick it Out, which is also celebrating an anniversary – its 20th – this year,” said William.
“There is sadly more work to do, but it is heartening to see how seriously the FA takes stamping the blight of racism and discrimination out of football.”
His comments came after Manchester City’s Yaya Toure complained of fans making monkey noises during his team’s midweek Champions League victory over CSKA Moscow in Russia.
But William, who is president of the FA, heralded the positive effects of football around the world, and claimed British players could inspire the nation as the Olympians did at London 2012.
“Tonight is not just an English celebration,” he said.
“Football is international in every possible way and I believe that the game’s constantly evolving spirit and appeal is a consolidation of all its global influences.
“Every nation should be proud of their contribution to 150 years of football.
“With all that in mind, I consider my position as president of the FA to be an honour and a privilege.”
The event was staged at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London, the site where the founding fathers of English football met in 1863.
William, addressing dignitaries such as world governing body FIFA president Sepp Blatter, said: “Our national players are role models for millions of young people and I think we need to give those highly pressured and driven players the support and training they need to live up to their rightly exalted status.
“We were as a nation so proud of our Team GB athletes at the Olympics and Paralympics, for their success on the field but also for the way they conducted themselves in interviews and with their competitors.
“It is perfectly possible to say the same about our national teams – they are good people, ambitious for success and to a man and woman aware of their status as role models.”
As well as congratulating Roy Hodgson’s England on reaching next summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil, William also praised FA chairman Greg Dyke’s commission to look into improving the fortunes of the national side.
“I am glad to see that, under the new chairman and commission, there is renewed vigour to improve the competitive quality of our national game, for all our sakes,” he added.
“But I would also encourage us to make sure we retain sportsmanship at the heart of this energetic drive for success.
“Regrettably, Her Majesty’s reign includes only one time that England won the World Cup, but I know that Greg and Roy are trying to make up for lost time now.”