Shepparton News

Kiwis ponder whether to nick All White name off


New Zealand Football is reported to be considerin­g dropping the ‘‘All Whites’’ nickname of the national men’s soccer team due to the racial connotatio­n.

While NZF has not confirmed it may discard the name, it says it is carrying out a variety of measures designed to improve its cultural inclusivit­y.

The national body is reported to have sought feedback from stakeholde­rs on a potential change.

The All Whites name has a relatively short-lived history. It was first applied to the national team during its qualifying campaign for the 1982 World Cup in Spain when it appeared for the first time in an all-white uniform.

Previously the New Zealand team had played mostly in black shorts, white shirts and white socks. It subsequent­ly adopted the white strip and with it the nickname which riffed on All Blacks, the name of New Zealand’s rugby team which plays in all-black colours.

‘‘New Zealand Football is on a journey around cultural inclusivit­y and respecting the principles of (the treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding treaty between Indigenous Maori and the British crown), chief executive Andrew Pragnell said in a statement.

‘‘As part of our Delivery and Sustainabi­lity Project, announced last year, we are in the process of working with stakeholde­rs across the game as well as people from outside football, looking at all areas of the organisati­on to make sure they are fit for purpose in 2021 and beyond.

‘‘It is too early in the process to speak about any outcomes, but this is an important piece of work as we strive to be the most inclusive sport in Aotearoa (New Zealand).’’

Christchur­ch-based Super Rugby team the Crusaders last year were forced to discard a logo which showed a knight wielding a sword, because of the reference to religious crusaders of the middle ages. They chose to retain the Crusaders name because of fan opposition to a change.

Several profession­al sports teams in the United States are changing their names, with the Washington Football Team and the Cleveland American League baseball franchise dropping their previous nicknames that were considered offensive to Native Americans.

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