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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 February, 2005, 22:27 GMT
Caborn welcomes anti-racism stand
Wayne Rooney wearing England's No To Racism shirt
Sports minister Richard Caborn has praised England and Holland for taking a stand against racism in football.

Both sides played at Villa Park in Wednesday's friendly wearing strips bearing messages promoting anti-racism.

"It is great to see England and Holland uniting against racism," said Caborn on Wednesday evening.

But Gary Neville warned against commercialism clouding the issue: "We have to make sure it's conducted in the right manner and not done just for PR."

The Manchester United defender welcomed the anti-racism initiatives but feared some sports companies such as his club's kit sponsors, Nike, were in danger of using such campaigns for free publicity.

We need to continue to work together to rid football completely of racism
Sports minister Richard Caborn
"The FA and the England team have always campaigned against racism very well, we have just got to be aware that it is not cheapened slightly by companies like Nike getting a lot of PR out of it for nothing."

England's red shirts had an anti-racism slogan in silver on the front with the Kick It Out badge on the sleeves, while Holland had a black and white kit.

Caborn added: "I really welcome the fact both football associations have decided to highlight the issue in this way.

"The whole footballing world needs to stand up and speak up against the racist minority that have recently given the game a bad name.

"But this should not be a one-off. We need to continue to work together to rid football completely of racism."

It was the first time in 133 years of international football the England kit had carried anything on the front other than the three lions badge and manufacturer's logo.

Holland ditched their traditional orange colours for a black and white kit to show their support of the cause.

England's black players have been the target of racist abuse in several internationals, most recently when Shaun Wright-Phillips and Ashley Cole were targeted during a friendly against Spain in Madrid in November.

Fifa gave the two FAs special permission to wear the shirts and fans were also asked to hold up cards with an anti-racism message during the national anthems.

England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson earlier said: "The message is a simple one, but very important. The team and the fans will be saying 'no to racism'.

It's a big step to give up our national colours, but it's something we are prepared to do
Dutch FA spokesman

"It is a message that will be heard across football and around the world."

As well as Holland, Portugal and Russia also used the black and white kits in their games to show their resistance to racism.

It is part of the Stand Up, Speak Up campaign instigated by Arsenal and France striker Thierry Henry, and supported by other top players in Europe.

The campaign is backed by Henry's sponsor Nike, who also manufacture the kit for the three countries involved.

The campaign's symbol is interlocked black and white wristbands, which players across Europe started to wear back in January.

Supporters can buy the wristbands, with funds going to a central Stand Up Speak Up, administered by a non-profit organisation, the King Baudouin Foundation based in Belgium.

The foundation will use the money to conduct research into racism in football.

A spokesman for the Dutch FA said: "It's a big step for us to give up our national colours, but it's something we feel strongly about and are prepared to do.

Holland coach Marco van Basten displays the new kit
Holland coach Marco van Basten with the one-off kit

"We don't feel we have a problem in Dutch football. Fans treat black and white players exactly the same.

"But we have visited other countries where our black players have been abused, and there is obviously a problem.

"It's something that should be highlighted and anything we can do to make sure racism is wiped out, we're happy to go along with."

The Football Association have been at the forefront of moves to marginalise racism from the game with its Kick Racism Out Of Football campaign.




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