Former England footballer Ian Wright has linked funding cuts to youth centres to “lives being wasted” at an anti-knife crime initiative launched by Arsenal Soccer Membership.
The No Extra Purple initiative goals to maintain younger folks secure from knife crime and youth violence, and is being supported by former Arsenal striker Wright in addition to Gunners fan, actor and DJ Idris Elba.
There have been greater than 10,000 knife crime offences in London between June 2020 and June 2021.
Final yr additionally noticed the best variety of teenage murders in a yr in London since data started – most of which concerned knife assaults.
The launch of the initiative noticed Arsenal ditch their iconic purple shirts for an all-white equipment throughout Sunday’s FA Cup match towards Nottingham Forest.
Talking on the Metropolis Floor Stadium earlier than kick-off, Wright, 58, mentioned he had been “fortunate” rising as much as have entry to youth employees and “individuals who have been looking for me”.
He added: “Being a dad, granddad, great-granddad coming as much as be sincere, however the reality is I used to be lucky once I was youthful to have the areas, have the youth employees.
“Whenever you have a look at the final 10 years, 750 youth centres closed down, 4,500 folks out of labor, youth employees, folks you construct relationships with, individuals who know you, after which once you have a look at the lives which are being wasted… this marketing campaign is about… inspiration and motion.”
Youngsters died ‘senselessly’ in London final yr
Golden Globe winner Elba, 49, mentioned the marketing campaign was a name for “no extra bloodshed” after 30 youngsters, who “died senselessly” in killings in London final yr.
“It is an ongoing drawback,” he mentioned. “No Extra Purple actually means no extra bloodshed. We are able to do one thing – soccer is watched by youngsters.”
Elba, who wore the all-white equipment throughout the match yesterday, mentioned the purpose of the marketing campaign is not to cease gang tradition however to supply younger folks another.
“We’re by no means going to cease gang tradition, that is not the purpose. However we need to give another,” he mentioned.
“Final yr, 30 children – and I will say ‘children’ – died senselessly over knife crime. And the yr earlier than that, the yr earlier than that, it is an ongoing drawback.
“Ian [Wright] and I teamed up with Arsenal and Adidas to make some extent and say one thing about it.”
Reward from Labour and Conservatives
Priti Patel and London Mayor Sadiq Khan each praised the initiative, with the house secretary describing it as “vastly highly effective”.
Mr Khan mentioned that he’ll be “cheering Arsenal” in a Tweet, regardless of being a Liverpool fan.
The equipment was modelled by England children Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe earlier than the match, which Arsenal misplaced 1-0 because of a late purpose from Forrest captain Lewis Grabban.
The ten shirts worn by the outfield gamers will not be positioned on sale however might be donated to organisations and charities attempting to handle among the root causes of violent youth crime.