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New Zealand Football diversity review could bring end to All Whites nickname

The All Whites nickname used by New Zealand’s national football team could be ditched as part of a review New Zealand Football has launched into cultural diversity.

The nickname refers to the national team’s all white strip, first used during New Zealand’s successful qualifying campaign for the 1982 World Cup finals. The national rugby union team, which plays in a black strip, is called the All Blacks.

Reports in New Zealand claimed the nickname for the football team is among a number of aspects of the game that are currently being evaluated by the nation’s governing body.

“As with many other national bodies, New Zealand Football is on a journey around cultural inclusivity and respecting the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi,” NZF said in a statement, referring to the treaty between the British crown and Māori chiefs signed in 1840.

“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 Super Rugby side Canterbury Crusaders changed their logo in 2019 from a knight brandishing a sword to a Māori motif in response to questions over whether references to wars between Muslims and Christians were appropriate.

Teams in American sports have already undergone name changes, with NFL team Washington and baseball’s Cleveland dropping monikers considered offensive by Native Americans.