Broad support from Venice fans for 2006 Action Week17 October 2006

The various activities are being supported by the fan groups of Venezia Mestre as well as the Venetian Football Society.

The first activity was conducted by fans as part of the Stand Up, Speak Up campaign. It consisted of an event staged at the Rialto fish market on Thursday 12 October under the heading “Attacco Antirazzista” (Anti-racism attack). An opening discussion was attended by Giuseppe Ruzza of the (Italian FA's youth and schools section in Venice, Venezia coach Nello di Costanzo and Venezia players Alessandro Piovisen and Paolo Poggi. One of the most hotly debated issues addressed by Ruzza during the discussion at the request of many of those in attendance was the issuing of passes for young Italian players of foreign descent, who are being denied the right to play football with their peers, whereas in professional football such players are encouraged to play for the land of their birth. The situation is so absurd that officials have to be urged to find ways of working around the rules to guarantee those who affected the right to play football.

In contrast, a number of fans made the point that the Italian FA are using the permanent fight against racism to attack organised fans, who are often indiscriminately associated with racism. In this connection the anti-racist initiatives undertaken by fans are neither supported nor funded by the FA, unlike in other countries.

The debate was followed by a festival organised under the motto “MultiCultuHappening” and attended by fans, migrants and locals. Some 200 people took part in the event, making it a huge success.

On Sunday 15 October a number of Venezia Mestre fans (in particular Rude Fans and Nuova Guardia) distributed the “Attacco Antirazzista” brochure written by Mauro Valeri and a United Against Racism fanzine produced by the fans at the Serie CI match between Venezia and Pavia. A 20 m United Against Racism banner was also displayed and the fans organised a choreography under the heading “Da sempre arancioverdi, da sempre antirazzisti” (Forever orange and green, forever against racism) during which the fans waved flags in orange and green and in the rainbow colours typically associated with the FARE network. The activities went down very well with the crowd, who expressed great interest in them.

The Venetian Football Society also organised several events. At the above match four permanent banners containing the logos of the society and the FARE network were put up. The two banners in the North Stand read “Il razzismo è in fuori gioco” (Rassismus is offside) and “Le differenze fanno gol” (Diversity scores), whereas those at either end read “Tanti colori, una passione” (Different colours, one passion) and “Uniti contro il razzismo” (United against racism). Venezia confirmed its support for the activities by combining its logo with the FARE logo in its official press releases. This joint logo can now be seen on the back of the players' shirts.

This successful campaign marks the beginning of a close working relationship between the Venetian Football Society and the FARE network. The first objective they will pursue together is to persuade the local media to give this event more publicity.