National and international-level Events in a number of countries will drive the debates around inclusion and anti-discrimination in football, alongside a multitude of grassroots activities that will carry the European-wide movement.
The two-weeks period offers everyone the opportunity to get involved and become active to tackle racism, homophobia, sexism and other types of exclusion. In 2014, activists, football enthusiasts and community groups organised a record number of 2,000 activities in 59 countries as part of the campaign.
The Football People weeks have grown to become the biggest intervention against discrimination in the sport through the support and initiative shown by people across the continent. Fare calls upon everyone who loves football and hates discrimination to get involved this year.
There are many ways how you can participate in the Football People weeks. Be inspired and take action now!
Combining art and sport
2014 saw film screenings and documentary festivals take the stage. The appealing language, captivating and inspiring stories combining football, activism and personal growth proved to be an effective and engaging way to address social problems.
In Portugal, the MICAR film festival, organised by SOS Racismo, was the first-ever anti-racism festival to use football to discuss immigration, racism and inclusion in the country. While in Bulgaria, the focus of the LGBT rights group Bilitis Resource Centre Foundation three-day festival was tackling homophobia, gender identity and sexism.
At local level, fans and not for profits also encouraged discussions through film screenings. FriGo Association (Hungary), qSPORT Zagreb (Croatia), Антикино (Belarus), Football Beyond Borders (England), Federación de Accionistas y Socios del Fútbol Español and Brigadas Amarillas (Spain), were among these.
Schools made use of football’s unique power and linked it to drawing competitions, workshops and exhibitions to raise awareness of discrimination and deconstruct prejudices and stereotypes.
The creativity of a Slovak theatre play highlighted the stressed different ways to address topics, including LGBT rights, inclusion and homophobia in football.
Focus on education
Year after year, football matches and tournaments are among the most popular activities. These ‘low-cost’ initiatives unite communities and give minority groups the opportunity to benefit from cultural exchanges and sport.
The focus on education is present in all Football People activities, but in 2014 several organisations took this further by producing a number of educational resources and good practice guides.
The UK-based network Black Collective of Media in Sport (BCOMS) launched a guide, compiled after the Football People Event Grant D Word conference, addressing the under-representation of ethnic minorities in sports media.
BCOMS’ steps were also followed by the Manchester Metropolitan University, who produced a toolkit to help football clubs become more inclusive.
Addressing key issues
Purposely designed to address critical and current topics, events such as the Foul conference on discrimination in Greek football, the Berlin congress on refugees and sport, the Russian round-table on challenges ahead of the World Cup in 2018, and the Bulgarian media discussion on racism in football, were highlights of the two-week period in 2014.
Fan groups showed their solidarity towards minority and marginalised groups through unique stadium displays. The German campaign Football Fans Against Homophobia crossed borders spreading colour and inclusive messages across stadiums.
Several groups turned their attention to Europe’s growing migrant and refugee crisis and dedicated their activities to fostering the inclusion of refugees and asylum seekers for social cohesion.
In Mexico and Vietnam inspiring initiatives saw fans take on the streets of Mexico City to
challenge homophobia and 420 children of the A Lưới district, North Central Vietnam, build their sense of belonging and aspirations in a football tournament.
Ahead of the 2015 Women’s Football, women’s sport, sexism and the participation of women in sport was also highly debated during the action weeks.
Building on the successes of previous years, in 2015 the grassroots movement and the professional football will further the growth and messages of a campaign that has become increasingly international.
The Football People weeks will take place between 08 and 22 October 2015. Make it happen where you are.
— Fare (@farenet) October 28, 2014
— Fare (@farenet) November 21, 2014