Why are Arsenal playing in white? No More Red special edition kit vs Nottingham Forest explained

The Gunners are taking a stand against knife crime and youth violence.

Mikel Arteta, Arsenal Manager. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)Mikel Arteta, Arsenal Manager. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Mikel Arteta, Arsenal Manager. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsenal will wear a completely white kit for the FA Cup clash against Nottingham Forest on Sunday to raise awareness of youth violence.

The move is part of the No More Red initiative, and will highlight work done by the Gunners’ community outreach programmes in trying to tackle the ongoing issue.

Arsenal made an announcement about the special edition kit earlier in the week, as well as confirming that it will never be made commercially available, with shirts instead being awarded to individuals who are making a positive difference in the community.

What is No More Red?

No More Red is an initiative between Arsenal and their kit manufacturers Adidas that will see the sportswear company support the long-standing work being done by Arsenal in the Community to keep young people safe from knife crime and youth violence.

While the most visible move will see the Gunners play in an entirely white kit this weekend, there is also widespread work being done between the club and Adidas off the field to help address ongoing issues with knives and youth on youth violence in London.

As per a statement from the Gunners: “There were more than 10,000 knife crime offences in London between June 2020 – June 2021. Last year also saw the highest number of teenage murders in a year in London since records began – most of which involved knife attacks.”

Throughout the No More Red initiative, Adidas will be investing funds to create and refurbish safe spaces to play football, founding a mentorship scheme where young people doing positive work in the community will be supported by creative role models such as Idris Elba, Ian Wright, DJ Emerald Rose Lewis, and artist Reuben Dangoor among others, and providing access to its network of sporting talent, who will make regular contributions to Arsenal in the Community programmes.After Sunday’s match, the Gunners’ math-worn shirts will be gifted to organisations doing work in the community to tackle some of the root causes of knife crime and youth violence.

What has been said about the No More Red initiative?

A number of high-profile figures have already gotten involved and spoken out in support of the initiative.

Actor Idris Elba, founder of Don’t Stab Your Future and No More Red mentor, 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.

“If there continues to be no options for this after-school period, we will always see gangs form. Let’s create options for these young people.”

Meanwhile, Gunners legend Ian Wright 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.

“By giving young people more places to play sport, more support, and access to individuals who can inspire them, together we can help make a difference to young people in London.”

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta also offered his view on the campaign, adding: “We have been really involved as a club over the years with knife crime and we have the capacity to give exposure to that issue in London and everyone at the club has been extremely supportive, especially with the players and our sponsor Adidas who have been exceptionally good to come with some great ideas to support that and I think it’s very beneficial.

“There is a lot of work that is done outside of the lights and a lot of people that have spent a lot of effort to try to design different way and ideas to support that cause.

“It’s not something that is going to be resolved overnight but certainly giving it the exposure and the attention that is needed then hopefully many other people can jump on this initiative and try to resolve it because it’s a big issue in London.”

A message from the editor:

Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going. You can also sign up to our newsletters and get a curated selection of our best reads to your inbox every day.