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Why are Arsenal wearing an all-white kit vs Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup?

16:30 GMT 09/01/2022
Arsenal No More Red kit Bukayo Saka 2021-22
The traditional colours have been drained from the Gunners shirts, but what is the reason?

Football kits can say a lot about a club, with history, meaning, values and more frequently projected onto the sartorial canvas that is worn each week by the players.

If you are tuning in to the FA Cup game between Premier League club Arsenal and Championship side Nottingham Forest, you might notice that the Gunners are wearing an unusual all-white kit.

The north London outfit famously wear red, while their away kit for the 2021-22 season is yellow and their third kit is blue, so what is the meaning behind the departure? GOAL brings you everything you need to know.

Why are Arsenal wearing an all-white kit vs Nottingham Forest?

Arsenal are wearing an all-white kit against Nottingham Forest as a statement of support for the 'No More Red' anti-knife crime campaign.

Marking the launch of the campaign, the club has teamed up with their kit providers adidas to produce a unique kit that is pure white, absent of the usual colours.

The campaign was announced on Friday January 6, 2022 and is being backed by former Gunners striker Ian Wright and The Wire actor Idris Elba, who is a supporter the club.

Following the launch of the campaign, 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."

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta explained that the hope was that more people would join the campaign.

"[The players] have been aware for a while that this campaign has been trying to get done for a long time but because of the Covid issues, we haven't had the chance to do it. We are going to do it now for the game on Sunday and they are extremely supportive of that," said Spaniard.

"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."

What is 'No More Red'?

'No More Red' is an Arsenal in the Community initiative that aims to raise awareness about the issue of knife crime among youth in London and provide safe spaces for young people to play. The campaign also seeks to educate young people about staying safe while navigating their path through life.

Arsenal in the Community head Freddie Hudson explained: "No More Red’s investment in football pitches provides us with quality, safe spaces in the heart of our communities. These spaces enable our participants to engage and build relationships with relatable role models who can inspire and support.

"Keeping safe is just one part, No More Red also provides educational opportunities that help individuals make better, informed choices about their future. It also sends a wider message that by pursuing your talent and focusing on aspirations and positive influences, there are alternatives."

Can you buy the all-white Arsenal kit?

The unique all-white Arsenal kit will not be available to buy. Instead, the kits worn by the outfield players in the game against Nottingham Forest will be donated to organisations that are already working to tackle the issue of knife crime and violence among young people.

The organisations that will receive the gift of the unique No More Red-inspired kit are:

  • Arsenal in the Community
  • The Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation
  • Steel Warriors
  • Don’t Stab Your Future (DSYF)
  • Box Up Crime
  • Copenhagen Youth Project
  • St Giles Trust
  • Abianda
  • Octopus Community Network
  • The Ben Kinsella Trust

Have Arsenal worn white kits before?

Football kit aficionados will be aware that Arsenal have worn white kits in the past, with their away kits during the 1960s being predominantly white with small red flourishes.

Yellow became the main away colour for Arsenal from the 1970s on, but white was revived for the 2007-08 campaign as the club's third, alternative kit. The 2009-10 third kit was also white with red stripes.

However, despite that, the Gunners have never worn something as stark as the all-white kit for their 'No More Red' campaign.