Norwich City Academy took part in an online presentation delivered by Kick It Out’s Troy Townsend and Marcus Gayle.
Townsend and Gayle gave several presentations over the course of the week to all age groups at the Academy, encouraging conversation and educating the players on the issues of racism within the sport.
Addressing the players directly and asking for their contributions, the presentation was unique in its delivery, giving the Academy youngsters the chance to take the conversation in the direction they wanted.
After over an hour of discussion on topics such as Black Lives Matter and what the team should do if they experience discrimination on the pitch, the players then had a further chance to ask any outstanding questions at the end of the session.
Speaking to canaries.co.uk after the presentation, Townsend described the importance of these sessions to ‘develop’ the players on and off the pitch, adding how impressed he was with the City youngsters involvement in the conversation.
“I would always say that alongside the talent and ability players have, there’s so much more that needs to be put into them, they’re human beings and people first. It’s about developing the person side of it as well as the player side, so when they do go into the professional environment, they’re a more all-rounded individual.
“I’ve been doing this work in the academies for seven or eight years now and every year they just get better and better in terms of the engagement, their willingness to talk about their experiences.
“I always wonder how much we’re going to get back from the players. The way the players grew into the session yesterday, once they realised that their contributions were being valued, it enabled them to open up so much more.
“The fact the players could talk about their experiences so openly added to what I thought was an unbelievable conversation.”
Academy player Nelson Khumbeni was a standout player in his engagement during the session, with the midfielder emphasising the importance of education both on and off the pitch.
“I think talks like these are important, not just for myself, but for everyone in general. It’s a key topic in football and society, it’s just a matter of educating sometimes. Within the system, we don’t get too much education based off black history and other things.
“In regard to football, it’s a key component because we’re playing the game on a daily basis, so we need to learn the protocols of what to do if anything happened.”