Football People show the power of grassroots action09 October 2014

HundredsofgrassrootsorganisationsacrossEuropewilltakepartintheFareactionweeks,launchingtoday,usingthetwo-weekperiodtopromoteinclusionthroughfootball.

The Football People weeks, will see long-standing partners and first-timers joining elite clubs and professional footballers to send out a unified message against discrimination.

The activities are already the largest series of social action activities in European sport and will include activities in the US, Mexico and Vietnam. Over 2,000 activities are expected to address issues all types of issues of discrimination – racism, xenophobia, far-right, sexism, homophobia and religious intolerance.

Fare Executive Piara Powar said: “The action weeks are a very inspiring time in which discrimination and exclusion are addressed by the power of grassroots action.”

Campaign highlights will include fourteen national level events, such as theatre performances, launches of educational materials, conferences and round tables, in Bulgaria, England, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine.

Challenging prejudice
Groups including the Door Centre (Albania), the Bulgarian Professional School of Economics ‘Racho Stoyanov’, Dimitrias FC (Greece), Roma Community Centre (Lithuania) and Canvas (Russia), will take on prejudice against Roma and other ethnic minorities through football tournaments, workshops and cultural displays.

In Turkey, groups such as Kilis Gençlik Hizmetleri ve Spor İl Müdürlüğü and Kaos GL will work with Syrian and LGBT refugees to mitigate the effects of war and discrimination.

German NGO Champions ohne GRENZEN will invite amateur clubs, regional FA’s, refugees and human rights activists to attend a first conference on refugees and migrants rights in football.

In Ukraine, the human rights group Chiricli will bring together mixed teams of Roma children from Kyiv and refugees from the conflict zone, along with other ethnic minorities, to foster social inclusion.

Tackling homophobia
This year, a growing number of activities will focus on LGBT rights and homophobia.

The newly created LGBT fan group of the Liga MX club Club América in Mexico have lend their support to the campaign.

In Kosovo, GEM – Gender Equality Movement is organising a panel discussion to raise awareness of homophobia and LGBTQ rights in the Kosovo constitution. The LGBT rights group will also create a football team of transsexuals to promote a healthy and safe environment in which they can practice sport.

In Germany, Fussballfans gegen Homophobie and Queer Football Fanclubs will organise stadium activities and other anti-homophobia displays.

Football tournaments, film screenings and workshops will also address the issue in countries including Bulgaria, England and Macedonia.

Empowering women
Kareli Youth council (Georgia), Sporting beach club (Spain), Women’s Footballclub MFFV23 (Austria) and Yasa (Croatia) will support female empowerment in football through exhibitions, football matches and panel discussions.

In Portugal, a flash mob and a mosaic with women will take place in Lisbon to promote the women’s game and challenge sexist stereotypes related to female players.

Discussing far right-extremism
Far-right extremism and nationalism will be widely addressed by groups in Germany and Austria through stadium activities and discussions. Anti-xenophobia and anti-racism tournaments and multicultural displays will look to promote a diverse and inclusive environment in terraces and grounds.

Other related activities, including the distribution of materials, football matches and debates, will take place in Macedonia, Ukraine, Russia and Slovakia, among others.

(c)DISCOVERFOOTBALL/Dana Roesiger