Balkaniade 2009 festival takes stand against chauvinism and nationalism06 August 2009

Following the successful establishment of a football against nationalism campaign in the Balkans by the Balkan Alpe Adria Project (BAAP) in cooperation with the Football Against Racism in Europe network (FARE) and FARE partner FairPlay-vidc from 2006 to 2008, the activities continue with an under-15 youth tournament in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, from 15 to 16 August.

A total of nine youth teams from Bosnia & Herzegovina (Borac Banja Luka, FK Laktasi, FK Slavija Sarajevo and Grad Mostar), Croatia (Varteks Varazdin), Montenegro (Kom Podgorica), Macedonia (FC Teteks Tetovo) and Serbia (Sindelic Nis and Grad Kragujevac) will meet in competition in Banja Luka and join together in a festival against nationalism, chauvinism and intolerance in the Balkans. A brochure containing messages against racism and nationalism in the Balkans from well-known players has been produced especially for this tournament. The event will end with a game between a multi-ethnic select eleven made up of players from the competing teams and a women's team from Banja Luka. Workshops and discussion groups will also offer an opportunity for a detailed debate on racism and nationalism.

In the power and strength of football we have a means of fighting racism and discrimination. It is up to us to ensure that equality isn't just an empty word, said tournament organiser and BAAP coordinator Alexander Rakowitz.

With the support of the national football associations BAAP is planning a series (3-4) of regional youth tournaments for boys and girls (under 14 or 15) with teams from various Balkan countries. Each year nine teams will then qualify for the Balkaniade finals.

The Balkans initiative is supported by UEFA, the Bosnia & Herzegovina Football Association, Nike's Stand Up, Speak Up campaign and the King Baudouin Foundation.

A detailed evaluation of the results of the Stand Up, Speak Up campaign can be found here: „The Story 2005-2009“.