Ahead of the UEFA EURO 2020, Augmented Reality statues of four of England’s greatest Black footballers have been unveiled and photographed at Wembley alongside the statue World Cup winning England Captain Bobby Moore.
The move is part of a partnership between Kick It Out and Snapchat, as they aim to celebrate Black footballers in England through AR ahead of the tournament. The pair partnered with AR experience creator Kugali Media to create the AR statues, which will appear as a Lens on the Snapchat Carousel and by scanning a Snapcode, to allow Snapchatters to learn about some of the nation’s greatest footballers.
Kugali was founded to spread African storytelling, and is one of Snapchat’s Official Lens Creators.
The content details the careers and achievements of icons Eartha Pond, John Barnes, Rachel Yankey and Viv Anderson.
Black footballers are estimated to make up over 25% of the professional players across England’s 92 clubs, however of the more than 200 statues of footballers in the UK, not a single one depicted a Black footballer until ten years ago.
Five statues have now been erected to depict Black players, with Thierry Henry unveiled at The Emirates in 2011, Arthur Wharton by the FA at St George’s Park in 2014, and most recently a statue of ‘The Three Degrees’ - Cyrille Regis, Laurie Cunningham and Brendon Batson - was unveiled in 2019 in West Bromwich town centre.
The Lens also links to Kick It Out’s website, detailing the ongoing battle against racism in football.
Troy Townsend, Head of Player Engagement at Kick It Out said: “We’re pleased to be part of this project, which shines a light on brilliant footballing talent, and the contributions they’ve made to the game over the years. It is an opportunity to celebrate Black icons and share their stories, in a new and innovative way.”
Tobi Ruth Adebekun, SnapNoir Europe Lead added: “At Snap, we believe that Augmented Reality is a powerful format for storytelling and began thinking last year about how we can use our technology and platform to tell stories that are rarely ever told.
“We’re grateful to have partners in Kick It Out who have been at the forefront of making change in football in the UK, and creative partners in Kugali who are dedicated to telling African stories.
“Together, we hope that these Lenses educate Snapchatters on Black British history and inspire them to seek out different stories and perspectives.”
The partnership is the first part of a series of activities designed to celebrate, pay homage to and help educate around lesser-known and under celebrated Black heroes in the UK. The lens is freely available now to use from anywhere.