The Football People Action Weeks receive a boost this week as all matches in the Champions League and Europa League feature activities that set out a message against discrimination and prejudice.
Forty matches across the most prestigious club competition in world football will become part of one of the largest social messages of its kind, witnessed by thousands of fans at stadiums and millions more at home.
The minimum activities at each stadium will include:
• A 30 second TV spot played on giant screens
• Special announcements made on stadium loudspeakers
• Children accompanying the teams onto the pitch wearing Unite Against Racism T-shirts
• All captains will be asked to wear a Unite Against Racism armband
UEFA President Michel Platini supported the campaign period saying “UEFA is committed to tackling discrimination in football and we encourage football fans to join us in our efforts to value respect for players, officials, opponents and fellow supporters of all nationalities, religious backgrounds, sexual orientation and ethnic origins. For over 10 years we have worked alongside the FARE network and will continue to strive towards unity in football” in support of the campaign.
Weekend of action
The top level of football joins in after a weekend of activities at grassroots and national level that have included fan choreographies, education workshops, ethnic minority groups involved and solidarity activities with the LGBT community.
In total 42 countries will take part in the Football People period with over 300 groups organising activities.
Amongst the highlights last weekend were activities in Serbia, which witnessed scenes of mass racism at last week's Serbia v England under- 21’s match; activities by the Malta FA; a flash mob in Turin, Italy; the launch of a new partnership to tackle homophobia in Cologne, Germany; ethnic minority groups taking part in Romania and Bulgaria and many, many more.
Piara Powar, Executive Director of the FARE network commented, “We are proud that the Action Weeks have involvement from the smallest community and fan groups to some of the biggest clubs through the UEFA Champions League and Europa League.
“The theme of Football People reflects the message of unity and inclusiveness that sums up our objectives during this period. And whilst the wearing of an armband or a t-shirt does not deal with discrimination, it does set out an educational and awareness message.
“UEFA's support has been vital in getting our message across to a global football audience.”
Full details of the activities and the countries involved can be found here.