European Action Week against Racism in Football takes off16 October 2008

The next 13 days will see European football stand united against racism and discrimination, with the launch of the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) Action Week.

The initiative, coordinated by the European network and supported by UEFA will feature nearly one thousand initiatives by campaigners, fans, clubs, national associations and ethnic minority groups across Europe. The 9th edition of the FARE Action Week runs from 16 to 28 October and will see an unprecedented 40 European countries involved in an concerted effort to rid the game of racism and exclusion.

Top leagues and clubs celebrate diversity
This season 14 top national leagues across Europe – ranging from the German Bundesliga and the English Premier League to the Super League in Greece and Ukraine – are channelling the power of football to get a message across to the millions of people touched by game. Also, a selection of professional clubs such as PSV Eindhoven, Slovan Liberec or Young Boys Berne will be joining their supporters to celebrate the contribution of ethnic minorities to football. One example is Paris Saint Germain’s fixture on Saturday, which will see them link up with French FARE partner LICRA, to hold an anti-racism day at the Ligue 1 match against Lorient.

Racism has not vanished
The recent case of Atletico Madrid demonstrates that openly expressed racism and far-right agitation is still alive in some football grounds. The strong disciplinary decision taken by UEFA is likely to help tackle racism as the annual weeks of action is launched today. The sanctions are the largest to have been imposed on any football body for racism. In addition to sanctions FARE has called for renewed efforts to tackle all forms of discrimination.

Kurt Wachter of the Austrian FARE partner FairPlay. Different Colours. One Game. said,
Penalties act as a wake-up call for clubs and associations failing to address the racism problem at heart. FARE’s approach was always to raise awareness and to educate. There is a need to build partnerships with those fans and minorities who are challenging racism on a daily basis. The Action Week is a unique opportunity to spotlight these grass-root groups who are often on the margins of football.

Challenging Homophobia: The last taboo
This year the FARE network supports a growing number of initiatives and fan groups who deal with homophobia, which see some as the last taboo in football. The FC Barcelona Gay and Lesbian Fanclub Penya Blaugrana de Gais i Lesbianes and their Swiss counterparts at FC Basel, Querpass Basel will organise activities around the Champions League match of the two teams. In the Action Week the Gay and Lesbian federation of Flanders Holebifederatie launches an awareness-raising campaign against homophobia in mainstream sport. They ask each sport club to display a poster and to signing a declaration against homophobia. The Football Association is hosting tonight a panel debate at the FA Headquarters, Soho, London with a panel featuring gay rights campaigners.

Yesterdays’ FIFA World Cup qualifiers between the Republic of Ireland and Cyprus in Dublin and Austria vs. Serbia in Vienna already marked the start of the biggest anti-racism campaign in European sport.

Notes
For the List of European Activities click here

The electronic version of the Action Week poster can be downloaded as pdf here

For further information please contact:
Danny Lynch, Kick it Out (London), Tel. ++44 20 7684 4884, danny@kickitout.org
Kurt Wachter, FARE coordination office c/o FairPlay-vidc (Vienna), Tel. ++43 1 713 35 94-90; wachter@vidc.org
For Italy: Daniela Conti, UISP (Rome), Tel ++39 06 43984313, d.conti@usip.it
For France: Fanny Lucien, LICRA Sport (Paris), Tel. ++33 1 45 080808, sport2@licra.org