Arsenal striker Thierry Henry has launched a campaign against racism entitled “Stand up, speak up,” which aims to make supporters aware of the need to stamp out the problem in football.
Henry had been at the centre of a race row following controversial commments made about him by Spain coach Luis Aragones.
Henry said: “After the recent problems, especially the one with Aragones and the monkeys chants heard during Spain versus England (November 17), I wanted to react.
“Lots of players, like Ronaldinho, have been shocked by those stories. Something needed to be done. It won’t perhaps change anything, but doing nothing won’t change anything either. Things can change.
“When someone told me (about Aragones’ comments), I thought it was a joke but then I heard it on the TV. I reckon he should have been punished more severely by the authorities.
“There is a proverb I like: I forgive but I never forget.”
As part of the campaign, two and a half million black and white bracelets are being sold around Europe from February 6 with proceeds going to charity, to raise awareness of the need to stop racism.
Also the national teams of Holland, Portugal, and Russia will play their next friendly matches in special black and white shirts. There will also be a lot of publicity in each of the countries, featuring Henry and Barcelona’s Brazil striker Ronaldinho.
Other players involved in the initiative include: Claude Makelele, Philippe Mexes, Rio Ferdinand, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Adriano,Fabio Cannavaro, Roberto Carlos and Carles Puyol, Otto Addo and Christoph Metzelder.
Meanwhile FIFA president Sepp Blatter said on January 3 he intended to nominate Henry as an ambassador against racism.
Henry said in Friday’s France Football magazine: “If it’s really his intention, it’s something I would be very proud of and a role I would accept with pleasure.”