Trinidad and Tobago skipper Dwight Yorke will deliver a short message on behalf of this country before kick off in next Saturday’s 2006 World Cup qualifier against Panama following FIFA’s request for the teams to make a public declaration against racism in football.
Yorke is expected back in Trinidad on Sunday to rejoin the team for the live-in camp from Monday straight up until Saturday’s encounter.
The decision by FIFA is part of their initiative to stamp racism out of the sport and a banner reading “Say no to Racism” will be on display at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on the evening. Fans are being urged to come out in their numbers, not only to support the “Warriors” in the vital affair but also to join the fight against racism. Currently the Thierry Henry endorsed black and white anti-racism wristbands are popular while members of the National Team are sporting the red ‘Soca Warrior’ wristbands which fans are being urged to wear as a means of supporting the team and also being a ‘Warrior’ against crime, violence and even racism in T&T. These bands can be purchased at Sports & Games, Sports Master and Sports Outlet shops.
T&T will also take part in the Unity Cup in London next month which is also geared towards breaking racial barriers. Nigeria, Ghana and Jamaica will also take part in the action which takes place at Upton Park from June 11.
Yorke among several other world renowned footballers have been subjected to racist remarks against them with his latest occurrence being the abuse from Blackburn Rovers fans in November 2004.
English-based goalkeeper Shaka Hislop recently received a special award from the Professional Footballers Association for his part in the fight against racism over the years. He was a founder of the “Show Racism the Red Card” campaign since his days at Newcastle United.
“Indeed it was an honour to get the award for the efforts that have gone on in the fight against racism. The fact is that it is a problem not just in football but on outside as well and we all have a part to play in getting rid of it especially the fans and it’s great when they can identify with the fight at matches and other events,” Hislop told TTFF Media.
Last October a father and son were convicted after racially abusing Hislop during Pompey's 2-0 win over Manchester United.
He was not aware of the abuse until after it had happened. “There have been some high-profile incidents, like the abuse the England players received in Madrid earlier this year and Dwight Yorke's incident up at Blackburn," he said.
"When I was targeted I was fantastically proud of the way it was dealt with. It was fans who reported it, and the club were very hard in their stance against it. That sends out the right message. But the fact is there is still racism in the game, and all the time there is, the campaign must carry on."