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How Football Can Fight Terrorism

With the deadly attacks in Paris and in Beirut in November still in the headlines, it is easy to concentrate on the problems, not on solutions. Even as we mourn for the victims of these crimes, and question the justification for such acts, let us not lose sight of the fact that humanity, for all its apparent hatred and evil, is also imbued with the ability to make peace and find love.
And sport is one of the most powerful means of realising these positives.
The evidence for this is, to some extent, embedded within the acts of terrorism themselves. For decades, terror groups have targetted major sporting events for their campaigns. It is no shock, in historical terms, for instance, that the terrorists behind the Paris attacks honed in on the Stade de France where a friendly football match between France and Germany was being played. This simply follows a pattern that has existed since at least the murders of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
The reason for hitting spor…

Syrian children in Turkey need education+

Distressing news coming out regarding a lost generation of children, victims of the war in Syria. Human Rights Watch has released its report into Syrian refugees in Turkey and finds that as many as 400,000 Syrian children there have no access to education.

This is in a context of virtual 100% primary school attendance in Syria pre-civil war and high levels of high school attendance as well as good scores on educational ratings, such as literacy.

This is what war does.

It may be easy to blame Turkey for this situation. But, this country has taken in around 2 million Syrians fleeing violence and a broken country. Rather than blame Turkey - and blame is not a word we like much here, anyway - maybe we should all look at what are we doing as individuals, and at what are our governments and the international bodies that represent us doing about this.

This appears evidence that more needs to be done. It's not about blame, but about finding solutions.*

We take a broad view on education. …

Rohingya Football Club Program Details

The Kick Project board has now reached agreement with the Rohingya Football Club, Kuala Lumpur, to proceed with the following program. 

We are now formally raising funds for the following program, which we aim to begin in January 2016.

Phase One:

Part 1
Aim 1: Provide full playing kit for the current Rohingya Football Club (RFC) squad. This includes: shirts, shorts, socks, shin-pads, boots, goalkeeper equipment
Aim 2: Fund a single playing space for football games. This includes paying fees on a designated municipal football field.
Aim 3: Fund Transport. This includes purchasing or leasing a minivan.
Part 2
Aim 1: To establish a “Ball Library”. This will be set up as a focal point for the RFC and also for the Rohingya community, with special focus on encouraging access for Rohingya children. Appropriate education initiatives (approved by both RFC representatives and The Kick Project via the Program Management Committee) may be conducted and/or promoted in the Ball Library premises;
Aim 2: T…

Why We Support Sport for Girls

We at The Kick Project take girls playing sport very seriously. We reckon both girls and boys can gain significant benefits playing organised sports. Increasing the numbers of girls in sport, in particular, is a vital goal for the well-being and health of not only the feminine half of the population, but to all society as a whole.

While we respect all cultures, we are often disappointed that some cultures frown on women and girls playing - or even watching - sport. Our position is that we respectfully disagree with that position.

But part of the problem we - and other like-minded organisations - face, is that there are too few positives to point to, even if the seemingly "liberal" western world.

One case which has come to prominence lately has been here in our home country of Australia.

Australian Example

The Australian women's football (soccer) team, known as The Matildas recently went on strike, refusing to play unless better pay and conditions were forthcoming. As thi…

Big Time Football Draws Further Away from Grassroots Supporters

The BBC have released the results of a study into just how much it costs to be a fan of a major football team these days.

The headline figures are telling and say a lot about modern football's shift away from its grass-roots, street level base.

It emerges that the average cost of the cheapest seat in the EPL now sits at 30 Pounds. Note this is for the cheapest seats. While few seats in today's super stadiums are like the old nose bleeds - behind a wall and facing at an angle - these spots are well away from the field.

The minimum wage in Britain in 2015 is 6.70 Pounds/hour. So that means, the man/woman on the street working in the lowest formal jobs in the country (and we all know lower rates are paid in the informal or underground economy) would need to work for almost 5 hours to watch a 90 minute game of football.

Chelsea FC is owned by a Russian whom some consider a modern day Robber Baron - in Russia at least - with an estimated net worth of over US$ 9 billion. He, and hi…

Wanderers Fans Might be the Solution

Australians are among the world's most dedicated sports fans. So, when it was announced before the season opener at the home ground of the Western Sydney Wanderers game on October 10, that aspects of support generated by one of the nation's more passionate fan bases was to be curtailed, it left many scratching their heads.

When those supporters, the so-called Red and Black Bloc (RBB) of the Western Sydney Wanderers, A League Premiers in 2013, conducted their usual march through the streets of the outer-Sydney city of Parramatta, they were, as promised, accompanied by a considerable police presence.

As is predictable, much of the media jumped on the story before the march, relishing the adversarial angle and upping the potential for violence.

A lesser number reported the fact that, when the RBB did march in support of their club, nothing actually happened.

Police may say that's because they were there. But, whether that's so or not, it seems that their presence was not…

House of Cards: What Might a Post-FIFA World Look Like?

With news that FIFA bigwigs Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini and Jerome Valcke have been "red carded" by FIFA and will have to sit out the next three months, it looks like finally the dead wood is being pruned at the world game HQ. However, worse may be yet come. What can be done to get the people's game back to the people?

The current danger is that as the poison is leeched from FIFA, nothing will be left. If corruption is as rife as many - including us here at The Kick Project - believe then more will be shown the door and still more, aware that the gravy train has terminated, will move on voluntarily.

The result may well be a vacuum at the heart of the world's most valuable sport. The immediate consequences of this may be no Confederation Championships and no World Cup in three years time or beyond. That's bad enough, but the real concern is who or what will fill this void.

There are essentially three likely outcomes.

One, would be to hand FIFA over to external a…

Ivory Coast's Game for Peace

Those who've been paying attention will note that we are fans of the Ivory Coast national team. They warmed our hearts with their efforts to heal their troubled nation earlier this year when they won the African Cup of Nations.

We at The Kick Project, have also long been fans of the Ivory Coast's Didier Drogba, star of Chelsea, Marseille, and Galatasaray among others. Arguably the best ever African footballer (argue away!), Drogba has always had a seemingly enduring belief in the power of football to generate peace.

With war in his homeland exploding across the country in 2002, the formerly stable nation was split in 2, largely along ethnic lines. This left one area dominated by government forces and another by rebel forces.

Many suffered and those in rebel held areas, especially so as they were isolated from the country and more or less under siege.

In 2007, as the war flared again, Drogba and his team mates organised for an international game to be played in the rebel stron…

The SDGs and Sport - A Match Made in Heaven

We've been thinking a lot about the Sustainable Development Goals which were launched in late September.

As an organisation that seeks to address issues of poverty, inequality and social development, we are both impressed by the scope of the SDGs and a little frustrated that they are needed at all.

However, we are supportive of the initiative and we believe they will engender positive change. In fact, as readers of this blog will know, we are of the opinion that sport has, or should have, a powerful influence on meeting the 17 intended outcomes of the SDGs.

The Kick Project's founder, James Rose, wrote a comment piece for Online Opinion, which we hope will make a contribution to the examination of the relationship between sport and the SDGs.

You can read the full article here.


Leicester City FC - When Style and Substance Meet

The Economist magazine ran an interesting feature article to mark the occasion of Queen Elizabeth II's now record reign. The story looked at aspects of UK politics and its social and economic history and highlighted the enormous differences found in the country as it was in 1952, when she ascended to the throne. The city of Leicester, home of Leicester City FC, was featured as a town that has experienced huge changes in that time.

"Today Leicester is Britain's first big settlement with a non-white majority," said the article's writer.

What is really interesting about this fact is the performance of Leicester City in the EPL. Currently sitting in 5th, above big guns like Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea, the Foxes are one of the more dynamic squads in the league this year.

They are playing an exciting brand of attacking football, some old school touches like flying wing backs and out and out wingers, they are near the top of the goals scored list - equal with West Ha…

FIFA More Than Jack Warner

While The Kick Project welcomes the decision to remove ex-FIFA Vice-President and head of CONCACAF, Jack Warner from any official role in the world football family, we would caution that this is not enough. While Mr Warner appears to have dragged the game through the mud in the quest for personal aggrandisement, we feel his story should not be allowed to act as a diversion nor should he be a sacrificial lamb. By all accounts, FIFA corruption goes deeper than even Mr Warner's voluminous pockets.

FIFA claims that "In his positions as a football official, he was a key player in schemes involving the offer, acceptance, and receipt of undisclosed and illegal payments, as well as other money-making schemes,"

But Mr. Warner took himself out of FIFA four years ago and resigned all his official positions. It's no surprise he is non-plussed by the ban. He is reported to have said on Facebook, "if in September 2015 (some 4 years and 5 months after) the FIFA wants to ban m…

SDGs an Opportunity to Prove Ourselves

The realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to follow the Millennium Development Goals, is one of those poster moments in global geo-politics. It seems the planet has finally come together to foster a beautiful world of lightness and love, safety and security. Of course, the reality is nothing like that. The world will likely go on its muddled and confused way, throwing up undeserving winners even as it it throws down innocent losers.

That's not being cynical. It's just an acceptance of the human condition. Sure, humanity can be wonderful. But it can also be brutal. Those truths are unlikely to change.

But, let's look on the up side. The balance can be shifted in favour of the more positive aspects and this is the value of documents such as the SDGs.

That's where we come in.

For us here at The Kick Project, the SDGs present a real opportunity to further ensure sport is in the tool box of solutions to poverty, conflict and community breakdown. While sp…

German Football Team Offers Support for Refugees

German second tier team St. Pauli - a team noted for its punk rock fashion and social conscience - have offered 1000 free tickets for the game against Borussia Dortmund for recently arrived refugees...[read more].....

Caught Our Eye #4.15

Big Sport and Small Minds

A good friend of The Kick Project, Jared Genser, founder of the human rights activist group Freedom Now, alerted us to this piece he co-wrote with well-known Chinese dissident Yang Jianli, in the Wall Street Journal, on the sometimes fraught relationship between big sporting events and human rights. It's an issue that's dear to our hearts here, especially given the plight of migrant workers employed to help construct the facilities for the Qatar World Cup in 2022 (the same year as the Beijing Winter Olympics)
It's Important reading. Let's hope it focusses more attention on the negative impacts of big sport in relation to human rights and social justice so as to better harness the many positive outcomes sport can generate.

BEIJING OLYMPIC SCANDAL REDUX

August 7, 2015
Beijing has been selected to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, making it the first city tapped to host both the Summer and Winter Games. In deciding this, the International Olympic Committee has chosen to…

On Never Walking Alone

Check out this article on football/soccer songs and the power of the game as a community healer, written for the Daily Review by The Kick Project founder James Rose. The Liverpool FC Australian tour starts in Brisbane ( v Brisbane Roar) this Friday and continues on to Adelaide ( v Adelaide United)

"Sometime Friday evening, Brisbane's CBD will be roused with the old Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, from the hit post-war musical Carousel, “You'll Never Walk Alone.” It's not showing at QPAC and it isn't one of those quirky Brisbane cultural events: The World Festival of You'll Never Walk Alone Singers...). It will be sung unlike it was it the original show, Carousel, and more like it was in the reprised pop version, circa 1963, as sung by Gerry and The Pacemakers – as in “you'll neeeeeeeeva walk alooooooooooooone...” Add a Liverpudlian accent and you'll have it...[read more]

Love is Not a Four Letter Word

Here at The Kick Project, we are always looking for ways we can combine our desire for positive change with the current systems and structures that are available. |This article, which argues for infusing the institutions and infrastructure we currently work to, with love, is right up our alley.

The article is taken from a great series currently running in Open Democracy called Transformation.

We here say that children have a right to have fun. We all have a right to love as well.

https://www.opendemocracy.net/transformation/max-harris-philip-mckibbin/all-you-need-is-politics-of-love



International Friendship Cup (founded 1872)

A nice audio piece from the BBC on an historic football competition in The Aleutian Islands, known as the International Friendship Cup dating back to 1872.

Also this piece by the same journo.




Caught Our Eye #3

This week, with the Women's World Cup reaching the pointy end, some insights into women and football, and sport in general.*

And, finally, a comment on the Palestine v Israel dispute at the latest FIFA Congress.

Sport and Women

Girls Tackle Stereotypes (And Each Other) in US Football League

How FIFA Discriminates Against the Women's World Cup (possibly for the better...)

Is Women in Sport a Feminist Issue?


Women's Star May Have Violent Past

Female EPL Club Owner Shows Men How its Done

Culture Must Change for Women's Game

Prejudice Still Exists

Norway's Team Takes a Shot at Detractors....By Laughing at Them

Power of Sport

This Young Girl Collapses Every Race, But She Keeps Racing

Comment:

On May 29, The FIFA Congress saw the culmination in the campaign by the Palestinian Football Federation to give the Israeli federation the red card, by kicking them out of FIFA on charges of player discrimination and institutionalised prejudice at some Israeli clubs.

The move towards the vote…

The Kick Project in the Media

Recently, I (James) was asked by Ray Gill, editor of The Daily Review, to write up a piece on The Kick Project, what it's about, and why anybody should be interested.

Here's what I wrote.