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Arsenal’s No More Red campaign has a powerful anti-knife crime message

Striving to make disillusioned young people aware of youth centres and other safe spaces, Arsenal and Adidas’ No More Red campaign has a powerful anti-knife crime message that the nation needs to hear.

For the first time since the 1930s, Arsenal donned an all-white strip last night in their third-round FA Cup tie against Nottingham Forest.

The majority tuning in would have expected to see Arsenal’s customary yellow away colours, but the club instead utilised the ITV broadcast to elevate a powerful message about knife crime and youth violence.

In collaboration with kit manufacturer Adidas, an adapted home kit was prepared for Mikel Arteta’s visitors. This one-off iteration had the iconic red bleached from the torso, and all colour removed from the crest, socks, and sponsors – aside from the FA Cup logo.

Following a year of community outreach work, and setting up another, this simple demonstration encapsulated Arsenal and Adidas’ message perfectly: No More Red, no more senseless bloodshed.

On that front, there’s serious work to be done. Between June 2020 and June 2021, there were more than 10,000 knife crime offences and the highest number of teenage murders since records began (30).

Speaking ahead of the game, Don’t Stab Your Future founder Idris Elba stated: ‘From the time young people leave school, until the time they’re at home with family, there is often a void – a dangerous spike of nothing to do – where nothing can easily turn to something dangerous.’

It’s this sense of disillusionment Arsenal is looking to address in the capital. The club is building a network of safe spaces where young people can blow off steam and receive mentoring from creative talent. This includes bustling football events with professional scouting.

Looking to inspire those who partake in the coming months and years, ambassadors including Idris Elba, Ian Wright, DJ Emerald Rose Lewis, Rueben Dangoor, etc, will regularly partake in community programmes and provide support.

Those who choose to make a positive difference in their community will be spotlighted, and those simply needing refuge from the dangers of inner-city life will get it.

‘By giving young people more places to play sport, more support, and access to individuals who can inspire them, together we can help make a difference to young people in London,’ said Ian Wright.

Capitalising on the massive national interest drawn by the FA Cup, and wider football in general, is a shrewd move from all involved. For many, last night will have been the first they had heard of local safe spaces and both Arsenal and Adidas are looking to capitalise.

As for the exclusive white shirts, they will not be made commercially available and instead will be given to individuals and organisations bringing about positive change. Hopefully, we’ll see them become an inspiring symbol throughout North London and beyond.

Kudos Arsenal, the match day result may have eluded Arteta, but this is a victory of far larger significance.


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