Football News

Why are Arsenal playing in white? Gunners launch #RedIsDead anti-knife campaign for FA Cup

By Squawka News

Published: 17:40, 8 January 2022

Arsenal will forgo tradition by wearing all-white in their FA Cup third round meeting against Nottingham Forest at The City Ground on Sunday evening.

The record 14-time winners are doing so as part of the No More Red campaign, the club’s new anti-knife crime initiative. It builds on long-standing work in London to keep young people safe from knife crime and youth violence.

Between June 2020 and June 2021, there were more than 10,000 knife crime offences in London. 2021 also saw the highest number of teenage murders in a year in the British capital since since records began, and last week came the confirmation of a record 30 teenage knife crime fatalities across London in 2021.

This initiative has gained support from the Gunners’ kit supplier Adidas and as part of the campaign Arsenal will be taking a historic step of replacing their famous red home shirt with a custom white kit when they face two-time FA Cup holders Forest.

“The idea that Arsenal are going to come out in an all-white kit and say ‘No More Red’ will hopefully make people think ‘Hang on, what’s going on here?’ – then look further and try and find out more,” actor Idris Elba — founder of Don’t Stab Your Future (DSYF) and No More Red mentor — told Sky Sports News.

The kit will not be commercially available. Instead, Arsenal have made it known that “individuals who are making a positive difference in the community” will be awarded the jersey. The shirts worn by Arsenal’s ten outfield players will then be gifted to organisations doing work to address some of the root causes of knife crime and youth violence. These groups are:

  • Arsenal in the Community
  • The Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation
  • Steel Warriors
  • Don’t Stab Your Future (DSYF)
  • Box Up Crime
  • Copenhagen Youth Project
  • St Giles Trust
  • Abianda
  • Octopus Community Network
  • The Ben Kinsella Trust

“From the time young people leave school, until the time they’re at home with family, there is often a void, a dangerous spike of nothing to do, where nothing can easily turn to something dangerous. If there continues to be no options for this after-school period, we will always see gangs form. Let’s create options for these young people,” Elba added.

Arsenal subsequently hope their white shirt will become a “symbol of positivity in the community”. Those consequently in possession of the shirt will then receive special mentoring via Adidas’ portfolio of talent across various creative fields — including Idris Elba, Ian Wright, DJ Emerald Rose Lewis and artist Reuben Dangoor among others — and each mentee will gain two stages of inspiration from them and Arsenal as part of the programme.

“Every young person deserves the opportunity to express themselves. The opportunity to exist within a safe environment. The opportunity to live free from fear of violence,” club legend Ian Wright added.

“We can never accept loss of life through youth violence as ‘normal’ in our city and it’s so important that we all work together to create a better environment for young people. By giving young people more places to play sport, more support, and access to individuals who can inspire them, together we can help make a difference to young people in London.”

“No More Red is a long term commitment by ourselves and Adidas. Arsenal in the Community has more than 35 years’ experience supporting young people from inner city areas,” a club statement read.

“By spotlighting people in the community, providing mentorship for talented individuals, investing in physical spaces and bringing inspirational talent from the creative industries into Arsenal in the Community programmes, we hope to provide more safe spaces, education and opportunity for young people.

“We help and support thousands of young people each week and we’re incredibly proud to further this support by launching No More Red in collaboration with Adidas.”