Social Justice

Arsenal to wear all-white kit for first time ever as part of anti-knife crime initiative

Idris Elba and Ian Wright have backed the club's 'No More Red' campaign with Adidas that will see money donated for football pitches and mentorship schemes

Arsenal white kit

Arsenal players Kieran Tierney, Gabriel Martinelli, and Nuno Tavares in the one-off all-white kit. Image: arsenal.com

Arsenal will wear an all-white kit for the first time in their history this weekend, as part of a new initiative tackling knife crime.

The team will don the Adidas ‘No More Red’ kit in their FA Cup tie against Nottingham Forest, while the sports brand will also be funding new and refurbished spaces to play football, as well as creating a mentorship scheme.

Supported by actor Idris Elba and Arsenal legend Ian Wright, the project aims to address the fact over 10,000 knife offences took place in London between June 2020 and June 2021.

Last year also saw the highest number of teenagers killed in a year in London since records began – most of which involved knife attacks.

Luther star Elba spoke of the need to create options for young people as a way to lead them away from gangs.

He said: “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.”

Arsenal’s all-white kit – created in contrast to the team’s traditional red and white strip – will not be sold commercially, instead being awarded to those who “are making a positive difference in the community.”

After this Sunday’s tie against Nottingham Forest, the 10 shirts worn by Arsenal’s outfield players will be gifted to community organisations fighting against knife crime, including The Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation, Arsenal in the Community, The Ben Kinsella Trust and The Copenhagen Youth Project.

Wright, who scored 185 goals for the Gunners, said the initiative would make a difference to young people in London.

He said: “Every young person deserves the opportunity to express themselves. The opportunity to exist within a safe environment. The opportunity to live free from fear of violence.

“We can never accept loss of life through youth violence as ‘normal’ in our city and it’s so important that we all work together to create a better environment for young people.”

The first of the safe spaces for football funded by the project will be the pitch on Harvist Estate, in the shadow of the Emirates Stadium.

A mentoring scheme, where creative talent including Wright, Elba, artist Reuben Dangoor and others will support young people, will also be created.

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