Football People weeks take centre stage at UEFA competitions and elite football

European football governing body UEFA will lend their support to the Football People weeks increasing the momentum around the campaign on its closing week and joining European leagues, Football Associations and top-tier clubs.

At all UEFA 58 club competition matches, including Champions League, Europa League and Women’s Champions League, played between 17-19 October, players will line-up for a mixed photo and display the hash tag of UEFA’s new anti-discrimination and social inclusion campaign #EqualGame.

Videos played on giant screens, announcements made over the stadium loudspeakers and child mascots wearing #EqualGame t-shirts will encourage those at the stadium and at home to stand up to discrimination and to embrace diversity. Activities will also take place at the European qualifiers of the Women’s World Cup.

UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin said: “I am excited to offer UEFA’s full support for the Football People action weeks,”

“By dedicating a match day we want to highlight our commitment to leading the way in making discrimination a phenomenon of the past and celebrate diversity in the game”, he added.

This year’s weeks will be the biggest yet and the support of professional football is paving the way for fans across Europe to follow and join the campaign.

European Club Association (ECA) General Secretary Michele Centenaro said: “ECA stands strong behind those actively promoting unity and inclusiveness during the Football People action weeks across the continent.”

Football Associations get behind
During the qualifying campaign of Belgium and Serbia for the FIFA 2018 World Cup, the two Football Associations used one match day to stand by the Football People.

At their home match against Georgia on 9 October, the Serbia FA featured the campaign on their match day programme. A day after, on 10 October, the screens of the Heysel stadium displayed the support of the Belgian national team. They also held a seminar on Diversity and Inclusion which saw 17 FAs pledge support to the Fare campaign, including Denmark, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Republic of Ireland, Romania and Spain.

In Russia, the Premier League game between Krasnodar and CSKA Moscow was dedicated to the Football People weeks. Players of both teams lined-up behind a large banner reading “We say no to discrimination”.

РФС и РФПЛ выступают в поддержку акции #FootballPeople в рамках @farenet ActionWeeks и говорят НЕТ любым проявлениям дискриминации в футболе pic.twitter.com/H9sSSbhhXz

— РФС (@official_rfs) October 14, 2017

The Maltese FA organised a half-day conference on 14 October on the role of football to enhance social inclusion, tolerance and diversity. At the event a network of organisations working on issues around the inclusion of refugees was launched to generate more opportunities for newly-arrivals and asylum seekers living in the island.

The day before the FA launched a new campaign against gender-based violence.

The Football Associations of Andorra, Croatia, Germany, Gibraltar, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Moldova and Turkey shared their support by sending pictures of national team captains and star players wearing a Football People t-shirt.

Support from clubs
Many clubs across Europe have done the same, including AEL Limassol, Appolon Limasol FC, AEK Larnaka, FC BATE Borisov, FC Internazionale, FC Viktoria Plzeň, Villa Real, Shamrock Rovers, FC Slovan Liberec, Brighton & Hove Albion FC, Cork City FC, RCD Mallorca, CS Universitatea Craiova, HIFK Football, Panserraikos FC and Panathinaikos.

In Greece, Olympiacos produced a video featuring the team’s top players sending a message against discrimination. The club also took to social media to further their support. On their website, social media and through videos displayed on their stadium screens, PAOK FC echoed the message of inclusion across Greece.

We are #FootballPeople. We say #NoRacism #PAOK pic.twitter.com/fnkyScbtDx

— PAOK FC / ΠAOK (@PAOK_FC) October 16, 2017

Celtic FC and Ferencvarosi Torna Club joined by producing dedicated videos.

Dynamo Dresden players wore supporting t-shirts reading "Love Dinamo, Hate Racism" at their home match against FC Ingotstadt.

An unprecedented number of women’s teams are also backing the campaign, including Chelsea Ladies FC, FC Zurich, Fortuna Hjorring, Gintra-Universitetas, VFL Wolfsburg and Zvezda 2005 Perm.

La Liga in Spain and Prva HNL in Croatia support the campaign. Players and clubs involved in all men’s professional leagues and women’s top division in Austria, as well as the Welsh men’s premier league, Evo-Stick southern league, EFL championship and national league will host pre-ceremony activities around the campaign.

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