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England get shirty on racism
Updated: 2005-02-04 08:49

England will wear shirts bearing an anti-racism message in next week¡¯s friendly against Holland.

England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson. England will depart from a century of tradition by wearing shirts bearing an anti-racist message when they take the field for next week's international football friendly against Holland.[AFP]

It will be the first time in 133 years of international football the front of the famous shirt will have carried anything other than the three lions badge and manufacturer¡¯s logo.

The team will wear red shirts at Villa Park on Wednesday with a slogan on the front and the ¡®Kick It Out¡¯ badge on the sleeves.

England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson said: ¡°This is a unique opportunity for fans and players to join together to speak out against racism. The players are always very proud to wear the England shirt but this time it will have even more meaning for them.¡±

The move by the Football Association follows an announcement by Holland that they are planning their own anti-racism message by wearing a black and white kit instead of their traditional orange.

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

Rio Ferdinand joined Thierry Henry in launching an anti-racism campaign last week. The Arsenal player was also the subject of a racist jibe by Spain¡¯s manager Luis Aragones during a training-ground tirade at Henry¡¯s club-mate Jose Reyes.

FIFA have given the FA special permission to wear the shirts and fans will be asked to hold up cards with an anti-racism message during the national anthems.

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