The FARE network was presented with the first Jean Kahn Award for exemplary work to combat racism. The Jean Kahn Award presented by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), an European Union body based in Vienna and sponsored by the Evens Foundation is in recognition of an outstanding contribution to combating racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism. FARE’s innovative work in football which includes raising awareness and educational activities at the grass roots and European level, particularly impressed the Jean Kahn Award jury.
At the Award ceremony in Vienna on 29 October 2003 Anthony Baffoe, TV presenter and former Ghana International and Bundesliga player, accepted the award on behalf of FARE. In accepting the award he spoke of his own experience of racism as football player in Germany, France, Venezuela and Hong Kong:
“If an organisation like FARE would have existed in the 1980s, it would have been much easier for me and other black players at the time.” Anthony Baffoe, who became the first black presenter of a sports programme on German TV, said also that nowadays many footballers do not dare to speak out against racism in public, because they fear to put off their fans and the manager.
The patron of the award, 74 year-old Jean Kahn, the first chair of the EUMC and president of the Central Israelite Consistory called in an emotional speech to continue the fight against any form of racism, xenophobia and exclusion:
“This fight will never end, when one form of racism will disappear, the next form will arise.”
Recent incidences as a reminder
In presenting the Jean Kahn Award, which is endowed with €10000, Bob Purkiss, chair of the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) and former football referee, said:
“Recent high profile incidents whether at the international or national level only serve to remind us of how much we still have to do. I am confident that FARE as a European network with a variety of contacts amongst the key players will ensure that this issue is tackled effectively. Its work at the grass roots and European level demonstrates the sort of comprehensive approach needed to address the issues and which has an instant impact on raising the level of awareness.”
A cheque of €10000 and the award sculpture have been handed over by Mr. Baffoe to representatives of the FARE network, including Rafal Pankowski of the Polish Never Again Association, Gerd Dembowski of the German fan federation BAFF and three staff of the FARE coordination office at the Vienna Institute for Development and Cooperation.
Special Recognition Awards were also presented to the UK based organisation PRIAE and Quick Response from Sweden. In announcing these awards, the Jean Kahn panel emphasised the important work of PRIAE in promoting race relations in the ageing and ethnic minority community and Quick Response in tackling racism in the media.
Third major award for FARE
FARE is a fan-oriented network of over 70 supporter clubs, anti-racist initiatives and migrant and ethnic minority organisations from 18 European countries. It undertakes activities in campaigning and raising awareness, such as the annual FARE Action Week, which this year saw more than 300 events in 24 countries. It also works in education, communication, lobbying and networking. Officially launched in 2000, FARE has won numerous awards for its work including 1 million Swiss francs in 2001 from UEFA, European football’s governing body, and the MTV Europe “Free your Mind Award” in 2002.