Champions League gets behind the fight against racism20 October 2008

Hundreds of football clubs, fan groups, leagues and minority organisations across Europe came together at the weekend (18-19 October) to take a stand against discrimination, as the annual FARE Week of Action kicked off.

This week, UEFA will use its premier club competition, the Champions League to spread a joint message with FARE urging fans to ‘Unite Against Racism’ to a global audience.

All 16 UEFA Champions League matches played on 21 and 22 October (match day 3) will see players accompanied onto the pitch by children wearing Unite Against Racism T-shirts, with tannoy announcements made at all venues, team captains will be asked to wear a Unite Against Racism-branded armband for the match.

In addition, a FARE-commissioned 30-second ‘No to Racism’ spot will be shown in all stadiums and during half-time of the TV coverage. Around 500,000 fans will see the clip in the stadiums, whilst many millions more in Europe and throughout the world will see them via live TV coverage.

Drive from Michel Platini
This season, in both the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup, UEFA has stepped up its fight to eliminate racism and intolerance from football. UEFA’s match delegates and officials are being urged to play a full role in catching the racists. UEFA has given its representatives at each match clear instructions on dealing with potentially racist behaviour, including providing print-outs of racist symbols – compiled by FARE – to help spot racist conduct or banners.

UEFA President Michel Platini has called on match delegates to help the European body and FARE to fight racism effectively, saying:

“UEFA policy is clear: zero tolerance of violence, racism or discrimination. You are the instruments and implementers of this policy and I urge you to be as firm as possible. The image of football lies, to a great extent, in your hands.”

Community and fan involvement
Along with the activities inside stadiums, grassroots groups representing minority groups, gay fan clubs and football fans across the continent are organizing community-level activities in villages, towns and cities across the continent, in an effort to tackle discrimination in football and give a lead in civil society.

The following UEFA Champions League matches will mark the FARE Action Week.

On 21 October:
Zenit – BATE
Bayern – Fiorentina
Fenerbahçe – Arsenal
Juventus – Real Madrid
Man. United – Celtic
Porto – Dynamo Kyiv
Steaua – Lyon
Villarreal – AaB

On 22 October:
Atlético Madrid – Liverpool
Basel – Barcelona
Bordeaux – CFR Cluj
Chelsea – Roma
Internazionale – Anorthosis
Panathinaikos – Bremen
PSV – Marseille
Shakhtar – Sporting