‘Show respect to everyone’ says Olympiacos star Eric Abidal at anti-racism conference22 October 2014

OlympiacosFCdefenderÉricAbidalhassentapowerfulmessageforequalityatthefirstinternationalconferenceonracisminGreekfootball andcalledonpeopletoengageinthefightagainstdiscrimination.

Currently playing in Greece after a career in some of Europe’s top clubs, including Barcelona and Lyon, the French international said: “It is important to participate in these actions and to say no to discrimination. We all have to adopt a mind-set of respect to further inclusion.”

What really matters at the end of the day is to respect everyone, inside and outside the pitch, understand that the mix of cultures is an advantage, and engage in the fight against racism.”

The conference, organised by the Fare member FOUL, on 15 October, in Athens, was supported by the Hellenic football, including the Greek Football Association and Super League Greece.

Four panel discussions explored modern football and the role of women in the game; the role of players, managers and teams in addressing discrimination; best practice in challenging racism and promoting the practice of football for inclusion; and, fan movements.

On the players’ panel Éric Abidal, the Fare ambassador Paul Elliot, the General Director of Greece’s Players Association Costas Poulios and Olympiacos FC Sports Director Pierre Issa shared their views and experiences on racism in the sport.

Earlier in September, the Greek Players Association had reinforced their commitment to challenge discrimination by inviting to a meeting the Veria FC Nikolao Dumitru and AOK Kerkyra Horacio Cardozo, and their team’s representatives, to discuss a racist incident between the two players at a Greek Super League match on 13 September.

The international conference was organised as part of the Football People action weeks and aimed to further the work of the Hellenic football in discussing the issues around discrimination and identifying new strategies to tackle the problem.


E Abidal