We are all ‘Football People’ is the message
The Football People Action Weeks kicked-off earlier this week with grassroots activities at the heart of the campaign alongside messages from the highest levels of football in Italy, Slovakia and from UEFA.
This weekend will see the numbers of actions grow momentum to reach more than 40 countries over the next week.
In the streets of Stolac in Boznia-Herzegovina, Haskovo in Bulgaria and Cadiz in Spain activities have begun with young people and football supporters. “We are young, we are different, we are Football People” was the message from ethnic minorities at an event held by the Hope Association in Haskovo.
In Italy, two young players, Giuseppe Rossi and Claudio Marchisio showed their support for the period as the Azzuri prepared for their Euros qualifier with Northern Ireland in Pescara.
In Slovakia national players Karim Guede and Filip Sebo became ambassadors of the campaign, joining a press conference in Bratislava with Ludia prodi razismu.
Message from Platini
Meanwhile the leader of European football, UEFA President Michel Platini offered his support, “I am proud to be part of the ‘Football People’ campaign which highlights UEFA' s commitment to tackling discrimination in football in partnership with the FARE network for over 10 years.
“We have worked side by side with the FARE network on what is a central pillar in European football and will continue to strive towards a respect for diversity in the game.”
The Action Weeks will feature actions by fans, community groups, players, clubs, national associations and local authorities in a united stand against discrimination and a celebration of the diversity of the European game.
The activities, run by members of the FARE Network, will include exhibitions, panel discussions, fan choreographies, football tournaments and for the first time, a flash mob. All activities will be geared towards tackling exclusion and sending out an anti- discrimination message.
In Boznia-Herzegovina, the Orhideja Stolac Association in the southern city of Stolac has kicked-off a youth tournament bringing young people together. Stolac is a city where children from the Croat and Muslim communities go to separate schools and rarely take part in activities together.
The Hope Association in Haskovo, Bulgaria have put on a range of activities including an exhibition and football tournament for 11-14 year olds from minority backgrounds under their own slogan “We are young, we are different, we are Football People”.
In the Andulucian city of Cadiz in Spain Colectivo CEPA have begin preparations for a choreography in Carranza Stadium and held a Street Soccer tournament in public spaces.
Highlights of action during this weekend will include activities at top- level matches in Austria, England, France, Greece, Germany, Poland, Scotland, Switzerland, Slovakia, Spain and Wales.
At the grassroots level, activities that support the Roma community will take place across Eastern and Central Europe, with ethnic and national minorities and their place within football also be the theme of actions across the continent.
Other highlights include:
• In Poland the Association of Former Players will be holding a ‘Poland for All’ event with young with the Never Again Association and the Polish Foreign Ministry
• The Policy Centre will organise a flash mob with residents from Bucharest re-creating a famous match of the Romanian national team of the 1980’s to highlight the role of ethnic minorities in the development of football
• In the Balkans the BAAP project will support activities in Macedonia and Serbia in addition to activities in Croatia led by the White Angels fan group of NK Zagreb
• Activities against homophobia will take place in England, Croatia, Macedonia, Macedonia, France and Germany.
• In Spain a high-level conference on inclusion and education featuring national coach Vincent Del Bosque, Freddie Kanoute and FA President Villar Ilona will be organised in Malaga by Foundacion ExtraTime
Next week matches of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League (18/19 and 20 October) will be themed as part of the Action Weeks with activities at 40 games.