Arsenal, the North London-based Premier League side, will replace their iconic red-and-white kits this weekend in a bid to combat knife crime in the U.K. capital.
On Friday, the club and manufacturer Adidas unveiled an all-white kit that they’ll wear when they visit Nottingham Forest on Sunday, Jan. 9, for their third-round FA Cup tie. The kit is meant to raise awareness for No More Red, an initiative between Arsenal and Adidas to help keep young people safe from knife crime and violence.
According to Arsenal.com, there were more than 10,000 knife crime offences in London between June 2020 and June 2021. In 2021, 30 teenagers were murdered in London, the highest number the city has ever recorded. Many of those murders involved knives.
When Arsenal says the kit is all-white, they mean all-white. It uses Adidas’s Condivo 20 template, with a white base and all the trim — collar, sleeve cuffs, shoulder stripes, Adidas logo — in white.
The club crest and sponsor logos are also printed on the shirt in white, as is the logo for No More Red on the right sleeve.
The all-white kits “will never be commercially available and will only ever be awarded to individuals who are making a positive difference in the community,” according to the club.
The game-worn kits from Sunday will be donated to community organizations working to address the root causes of knife crime and youth violence in London.
“The shirt will become a symbol of positivity in the community, given to individuals and organizations who are giving back to the community and creating a positive environment for young people,” reads the club announcement.
No More Red works with Arsenal’s community foundation to provide safe, positive spaces for young people and to recognize people making positive contributions to the community. Adidas will support the campaign by investing in creating and refurbishing safe space for kids to play soccer, by creating a mentorship program, providing access to its talent network and making regular contribution to Arsenal in the Community programs.
Arsenal worked with club legend Ian Wright and celebrity fan/actor Idris Elba on the No More Red campaign.
“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.”— Ian Wright MBE (photo courtesy adidas.com)
“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,” added Elba, who created his own campaign against knife crime, Don’t Stab Your Future, in 2019. “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.”
“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.”— Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta during his weekly press conference Friday
UPDATE (1:36 p.m. MT): Football.London writer Kaya Kaynak posted on Twitter that Arsenal’s women’s team will not wear the all-white kits in their FA Women’s Super League match against Birmingham City this Sunday due to league regulations, but they will wear a special all-white anthem jacket before the match.
UPDATE (11:19 a.m. MT; Jan. 10, 2022): Photos from Sunday’s match show that Arsenal opted for a white number font with a thin black outline on the back of the jerseys, as well as no names on the back. The “No More Red” logo on the right sleeve also looks like it was replaced with an Emirates FA Cup patch.
Feature photo courtesy Arsenal.com