RiversideBySide is Boro’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion, both within the club and out in the Teesside community.

Working closely with independent charitable arm MFC Foundation, the RiverSideBySide campaign was first established in 2017 with the intention of making the club a more welcoming place for supporters, staff, and any other stakeholders.

It’s already made a big impression in that time, with several significant steps made on the way to becoming among first EFL clubs to be awarded the Premier League’s Intermediate Equality Standard.

"As a club we embrace diversity and the challenge of eradicating racial discrimination."

There are many examples. We installed a matchday Sensory Room at the Riverside, a safe space catered specifically for our fans with autism or similar conditions. We became the first club in the country to back the Breastfeeding Welcome campaign, helping women who are breastfeeding to feel safe and comfortable when visiting our stadium. We have been involved in the creation and development of supporter organisations such as Rainbow Reds, our LGBTQ+ fan group who are now represented on the Middlesbrough Supporters Forum.

The RiverSideBySide brand has recently been given a fresh new look, but the work will continue in the same vein – with a renewed focus on recognising and championing the progress and impact made.

One way in which we’ll be doing so is by holding four RiverSideBySide matchdays over the course of the 2021/22 season, each with a specific focus on an area in which we’re targeting – each a ‘protected characteristic’ under the Human Rights Act.

Media Cultured deliver a workshop to our young players

The first, for the match against Barnsley, is Race. As a club we embrace diversity and the challenge of eradicating racial discrimination.

We partner closely with national organisations such as Kick It Out and Show Racism The Red Card, with the latter regularly hosting educational events at the Riverside with local schools. Supporters are reminded that if they encounter any form of discrimination in football, online or at a match, they can report it to Kick It Out via the Official MFC App, or by speaking to any steward or member of staff.

We also work in tandem with Boro Fusion, first established in 2017, a group that aims to give a voice to and expand Boro’s BAME community.

We have a strong working relationship with Media Cultured, a local educational organisation which promotes social cohesion and counters extremism. A few weeks ago, founder Amjid Khazir delivered an engaging workshop with a number of Boro’s Academy players preparing them for the realities of online abuse and how best to combat it.

Football Welcomes visits Redcar...

October is Black History Month, a celebration of diversity which has previously seen first team players including Marc Bola and Marcus Tavernier hold Q&As with local school children, while more of our Academy youngsters have embarked on a Trailblazers project exploring the impact of black pioneers in the game such as Lindy Delapenha and Arthur Wharton.

MFC Foundation has several projects with community cohesion at their core, such as ‘Football Welcomes’, which offers sporting educational provision to refugees and asylum seekers. Back in April, our then midfielder Sam Morsy met with several participants over Zoom.

Supporters may also not be aware of our Multi-Faith Prayer Room, located in the East Stand and available for fans to utilise. For more information, please contact our Supporter Services team on supporters@mfc.co.uk.