With Euros 2021 about to kick off, Owen Jones, our Education & Training Director, explains how new resources for teachers can connect football and counter prejudice amongst young people.

Sport is often an amazing teaching tool, motivating certain pupils to engage with material they might otherwise struggle to relate to. I know from my own experience in the classroom that introducing football to the conversation can spark even the most reluctant students into conversation. The Euros give us a fantastic opportunity to tap into pupils’ excitement over the football tournament to start discussions about a whole range of other areas.

Football is the beautiful game, but its relationship with racism is anything but. Over the decades, social problems have made their way onto the terraces, and it's no different today. Even in a time when we won’t see full stadiums at the championships, the nasty elements within our society can make their hateful voices heard via social media.

Children can often get stuck in the middle of this. Sport is often their first venture into adult spaces and some of the unsavoury characters that lurk online can upset and hurt those most impacted by racism, and draw others into developing hateful views.

This is why HOPE not hate have teamed up with Facebook to create a video lesson resource for tutor times/PSHE periods to directly challenge the impact of ‘low-level’ discriminatory language online.

The lesson has football as its focus and is aimed at Years 6-9 – perfect for this summer.

The video and class plan takes you through the story of Kyra and James. Kyra is a budding footballer who wants to show off her skills on YouTube. After an amazing reception she begins to notice racist and sexist comments under her video, which her friend James tries to laugh off.

The lesson aims to get pupils thinking about the emotional impact of these comments and how James could have better handled the situation.

We aim to firstly encourage pupils to stop using harmful language and also to empower them to challenge their friends to do the same.

Thanks to the support of Facebook and members of the HOPE Education Fund, we are providing this resource to teachers completely free of charge. If you’re a teacher and you’d like to request the resources, you just need to register below.

The Euros are an exciting time for lots of us, including kids in our classes – and we can use that excitement to counter the negative messages around the game too.

Request the classroom materials here - they're free to all teachers.