Sportswear manufacturer Nike has responded to claims by England defender Gary Neville that it is using football’s anti-racism campaigns for its own ends.
Speaking after England’s game with Holland on Wednesday, Neville said: “We don’t have a big problem with racism in this country – you can think of probably one or two incidents in the last five or 10 years.
“We have to make sure that the campaign is conducted in the right manner and not done just for PR, like some of the sports companies seem to be doing at the moment.
“The FA and the England team have always campaigned against racism very well. We have just got to be aware that it is not cheapened slightly by companies like Nike getting a lot of PR out of it for nothing.”
But Nike hit back by issuing a statement.
It said: “It’s not about cheap PR or profit but tackling the issue of racism that is still an issue in football.”
Nike UK’s corporate communications manager, Simon Charlesworth, added: “The campaign isn’t about publicity, it’s about racism, and the fact remains that there is racism in football.
“We’ve spoken with all the relevant bodies such as Kick It Out, and we’ve had their approval.
“Even Gary Neville’s team-mate, Rio Ferdinand, has come down to London to help with the campaign.”