The first 25 seconds of England’s UEFA Nations League match against Switzerland will be broadcast in black and white, as The Football Association (FA) seeks to honour Kick It Out’s 25th anniversary.
For the first time in almost half a century, TV match coverage will only be available in black and white, with the Sky Sports picture switching from colour as the teams enter the pitch at Leicester City’s King Power Stadium.
The historic footage will continue without colour for 25 seconds, in recognition of Kick It Out’s landmark anniversary and to celebrate the impact the organisation has made in tackling racism and all forms of discrimination in the game since 1993.
The international clash is dedicated to Kick It Out by The FA and England players will show their support by warming up in branded t-shirts and entering the pitch alongside eight mascots nominated by the organisation.
The move follows The FA’s recent launch of its ‘In Pursuit of Progress’ plan, which is part of the organisation’s commitment to ensure the diversity of those leading and governing football better reflects the make-up of playing teams in the modern game.
The plan will deliver initiatives primarily focussed on gender and ethnicity, to be rolled out across The FA’s general workforce and leadership roles, including coaching staff of the England teams.
Paul Elliott, The FA’s Inclusion Advisory Board chairman, commented on the stunt, saying: “Kick It Out have been a catalyst for the change in English football both on and off the pitch and we’re delighted to celebrate their inspirational work in promoting football for all. Hopefully the footage will encourage the millions of viewers at home to spend at least 25 seconds thinking about the importance of diversity in this beautiful game of ours.
“We’re very grateful to Sky Sports for supporting the idea since its conception and look forward to seeing Three Lions in black and white for the first time in nearly 50 years.”
Lord Herman Ouseley, chair of Kick It Out, said: “We at Kick It Out are delighted with this gesture in recognition of our work to make football a better sport for all across the last 25 years.
“We hope the footage will be a powerful reminder of how far football has come in the last 25 years to make the a game a more open and diverse place - welcoming to all regardless of age, disability, gender, race, religion or sexual orientation.”
Steve Smith, Sky Sports’ director of content and production, added: “Over the past 25 years, the Kick it Out campaign has been instrumental in changing the landscape of English football. Having supported them all the way, we’re delighted to be able to help celebrate this landmark moment in such a unique way.”