HUNDREDS of football fans united to tackle racism in sport at the seventh annual Kick It Out event in Bournemouth.

The football festival at Kings Park was hosted by longstanding YMCA-based youth group TEAM, which stands for Together Everyone Achieves More. With the backing of AFC Bournemouth, hundreds of young football players and their families gathered for the fun day on Sunday.

YMCA youth worker Vince Edwards said: “We wanted to bring everyone together at this football festival to raise awareness about discrimination in sport and focus on equality and diversity. Using football as a tool we wanted to enable youngsters to tackle the issues they feel strongly about.”

Bournemouth Mayor councillor Rod Cooper also showed his support for the Kick It Out football festival, which was organised to coincide with Black History month.

Grantley, 15, said: “I think the Kick It Out campaign is needed because everyone should be able to play football, no matter who you are.

“Kick It Out helps to improve the game. It makes people more aware of others so there’s more understanding and less arguments on the pitch.”

TEAM is a group of around 25 young people from black, Asian and ethnic minorities who meet at Bournemouth YMCA centres to support one another and tackle issues they feel strongly about.

They performed a play as part of the event about African-American civil rights activist Rosa Parks who initiated a new era in the quest for equality when she refused to give up her seat on the bus.

Vince said: “She made a stand and managed to change the law, so she is an iconic role-model.”