‘Football against racism…We are people’: Slovakia says no to racism17 June 2003

The Slovakian FA is to hold it’s second set-piece anti-racist event following the widespread abuse of black England players during the Slovakia – England Euro 2004 qualifier in Bratislava last October.

The imaginatively titled “Football Against Racism, We Are People” event will take place this coming weekend in the city of Nitra with a packed programme of cultural and footballing activities. The centre- piece of the weekend will be exhibition football and basketball matches on Sunday, Roma and African dance troupes and the judging of a national art competition.

The activities are being organised in conjunction with FARE partner group Ludia Proti Razismu (People Against Racism) and are supported by the Slovakian government, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs due to give an address.

Grassroots Support
The SFA event follows an anti-racism football tournament in the village of Vistuk, last weekend. The tournament, financially supported by the FARE network, is amongst a number of grassroots activities taking place in the Slovakian Republic to combat racism and xenophobia in football.

Many Slovaks were deeply shocked to be characterised as a racist nation following the England game and are keen to challenge the problem.

Marta Olejcekova of the International Department of the Slovakian FA today said, “After the incidents Slovakia experienced in October last year, and other racist events taking place in sport recently, it has brought us to organize our second event to fight and express our opinion against racism.”