Arsenal will play in an all-white shirt against Nottingham Forest as part of the launch of the No More Red and anti-knife crime initiative with adidas.
Arsenal are removing red from their iconic jersey and will wear an all-white custom kit for the first time in Sunday’s FA Cup third round match with Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.
The kits will not be commercially available and will only be awarded to people who are making a difference in the community.
The partnership with the club’s kit maker will build on Arsenal’s work in the community to protect young people by providing new investments for safe spaces to play football and mentoring opportunities that will see young local leaders supported by creative talent including Ian Wright and Idris Elba.
It comes after last week’s confirmation of a record 30 teenage knife crime victims across London in 2021.
“The idea that Arsenal will come out in a completely white kit and say ‘No More Red’ will hopefully make people think ‘Wait, what’s going on here?’ – then look further and try to find out more, “said actor Idris Elba Sky Sports News.
“I hope it has an impact that spreads to other football clubs and inspires other ideas of collaboration and investment in practical things to help young people, be it football pitches or youth centers like the one I went to Forest Gate where i played sports and where i really fell in love with cinema.
“We have to offer young people, especially teenagers, another option and an alternative to knife crime and gangs. This is what we can offer them as an option.”
The 10 shirts worn by Arsenal outfield players in the cup tie will be donated to organizations working in the community to address some of the root causes of knife crime and youth violence. The Don’t Stab Your Future initiative, which uses fashion to support people working to keep children away from crime, is one such organization.
Award-winning actor Elba used his status to raise awareness of knife crimes and says the No More Red initiative is a cause that immediately hit him.
“The reasons why [adidas and Arsenal] they are doing this really resonates with me.
“I have a large following of young people and people are always saying to me: ‘Idris, you come from the same place as me, how did you do it?’ And it’s the same with footballers.
“To see these two giants say we want to do something meaningful, specific to football culture, say we’re watching, we care, we want to do something – that really resonated with me. It really did.”
“Our biggest collaboration is with fans”
“It takes a village because no man is an island,” Elba continued. “This is where partnerships that increase awareness and collaborations come into play.
“Our biggest partnership is with the fans. Every Saturday and Sunday hundreds of thousands of fans go and millions of people gather to watch football.
“You really start your football journey as a teenager, and that’s the power of collaboration right there. That’s where adidas, Arsenal, Ian Wright – who I was a fan of growing up – myself, Don’t Stab Your Future, everyone, we are all here to amplify this message.
“Football is the place to watch your team and see the fans, and celebrate your union – a union I don’t think you can get anywhere else.
“Football makes you feel like we’re in this together and that’s how powerful sport is, and football in particular. You are literally using your voice to cheer and uplift the players, and football is probably a bit underutilized in the game. sense of how it connects with young people and how it can become a beacon of light for young people “.
‘Different temperature of violence in 2021’
About 10,000 crimes reported in the 12 months across the capital up to June last year involved a knife.
Elba believes that the coronavirus pandemic and the effects of the blockade have increased stress and tension among young people, exacerbating the problem of knife crime.
“The temperature of violence in 2021 was completely different – and one of the key things we didn’t go through in the 1980s was a two-, three-year pandemic that not only strained the world and the world’s citizens, but ours. country in a way we’ve never seen before.
“These are the children we are talking about and these children (the 30 who were killed) might have been alive had we not been through one of the most difficult times in the world we have ever seen.
“I’m not saying there would be no knife crime if it weren’t for the pandemic, I’m saying it ultimately made things worse for everyone. The stress levels are really, really high and so the level of violence and the nature of gang culture have taken a different form.
“This is what I think has changed massively since I was growing up, and in particular that the last two years in particular have been dangerous. The knife culture has infiltrated the streets and into the conscience of these children and infiltrated the community, has worsened and is tragic.
“We are at a crucial time now, at the beginning of the year, where hopefully – and I use the word on purpose – we can say that we want to change it and enlighten it, that we have had enough and as a village, we want to do something about it.
“Adidas, myself, Arsenal, we will never get to the heart of why knife crime occurs, but what we can do is make a lot of noise about it, so people are much more aware – all from the people who making and selling knives to the people who own them.
“It’s about creating that awareness and telling people and showing people we’re paying attention.”
Ian Wright: Together we can make a difference
Club legend Wright is also featured in a powerful video series alongside Arsenal players Emile Smith Rowe, Bakayo Saka, Reiss Nelson in which they make a passionate plea for “No More Red” – an end to knife violence.
Wright said: “Every young person deserves the opportunity to express themselves. The opportunity to exist in a safe environment. The opportunity to live free from the fear of violence.
“We can never accept the loss of life due to youth violence as ‘normal’ in our city and it is so important that we all work together to create a better environment for young people.
“By giving young people more places to play sports, more support and access to people who can inspire them, together we can help make a difference for London’s youth.”
Arsenal in the Community chief Freddie Hudson added: “Keeping safe is only part of it, No More Red also offers educational opportunities that help people make better and informed choices about their future. It also sends a more message. broad that by pursuing your talent and focusing on positive aspirations and influences, there are alternatives. “
For more information on the initiative, visit here