FA plans TV assault to target racist behaviour

The Football Association is to launch its first TV campaign targeting racism, following UEFA’s demand that it pay a record fine for racist behaviour by England fans at a game against Turkey in April.

The FA has lined up Mother and TBWA/London to pitch for the project. An FA insider says the brief will ask for a hard-hitting message against racism and xenophobia, departing from the softer message pushed by the previous Let’s Kick Racism Out of Football campaign started in 1993.

The insider adds that the FA wants the advertising to target fans who copy ringleader hooligans because of crowd pressure.

The FA will appoint an agency by next week, with the first stages of the campaign expected to hit screens before the international match against Slovenia on June 11. The campaign will run until the European Championships in 2004.

England is to meet Turkey again in October and FA marketing and communications manager Nick Barron says his organisation does not want a replay of the pitch invasions and racist chanting that marred the first game. UEFA fined the FA &£71,000 and threatened England with a ban on fans at future games.

The FA is in talks with its media partners BBC and BSkyB to push the campaign. The FA will provide access to England footballers for use in advertising, and plans to extend the campaign to club level too. The FA will also work with supporters’ clubs on the project.

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