Football: No more All Whites? NZ Football eye changes its name

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The All Whites’ name appeared in the team’s qualifying race before the 1982 World Cup.

The All Whites couldn’t be anymore.

New Zealand football (NZF) is considering dropping the All Whites nickname for the men’s national team.

The potential change is part of a larger process that NZF follows to ensure they are up to the task on cultural inclusion.

This is because of the increased global awareness of racism and racial inequalities, and the potentially racist connotations of the name, and RNZ understands that the national body began to assess feedback on the potential change more than six years ago. month.

NZF chief executive Andrew Pragnell declined an interview, with the organization releasing a short statement instead.

“As with many other national organizations, New Zealand football is in search of cultural inclusiveness and respect for the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

“As part of our delivery and sustainability project announced last year, we are working with football stakeholders, as well as people outside of football, looking at all areas of the organization. to make sure they’re fit for 2021 and beyond.

“It’s too early in the process to talk about results, but it is important work as we strive to be Aotearoa’s most inclusive sport.”

Whatever happens, the name’s story means the potential change is likely to polarize New Zealand football fans, as well as players past and present.

The All Whites’ name appeared during the team’s qualification ahead of the 1982 World Cup in Spain.

The team had mostly worn white shirts and socks with black shorts, but after entering the field or in their third qualifying game in Taiwan in an all-white play kit, the moniker was coined and quickly adopted. .

This 1982 team, of course, saw New Zealand claim a spot at the FIFA World Cup for the first time.

The name and the full white jersey are also closely associated with the team that qualified for the 2010 World Cup, where they were applauded around the world for going unbeaten in their three group matches.

Several major sports teams have changed their names in recent years due to their potentially racial overtones, notably in the United States.

The American football franchise Washington ditched the Redskins nickname, while the Cleveland Major League baseball team was no longer known as the Indians – both changes were made due to name links with Native American culture.

In New Zealand, the Crusaders rugby team did not change their name but did change their logo in 2019 after questions arose about the suitability of the name due to its reference to the religious wars between Muslims and Christians in the Middle Ages.

Nor was New Zealand football’s current situation the first time they had considered dropping the All Whites name.

In 2009, former general manager Michael Glading proposed that the team’s alternate black band become their main band and that the nickname be put aside as well.

Glading pitched the idea ahead of the All Whites’ successful qualification for the 2010 World Cup.

He told RNZ the idea was more to stand out from other nations with an all-black kit and create a new story for the team, rather than any racist overtones the name had.

“At the time, I felt it would create a point of difference in the football world. There was no international [football] teams playing in black.

“I realized that would mean throwing out the nickname ‘All Whites’ but, nonetheless, I thought we should try to stand out from the crowd a bit.

“Some of the players liked the idea, but unfortunately the whole board was against it, so it was turned down. In fact, some people thought I had lost my marbles… they thought we were going to throw the story away. [of the name].

“In the end, he skidded so quickly that he never had a lot of momentum.”


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