Launched ahead of the International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination, marked on 21 March, and as part of the International Weeks Against Racism the Mach einen Strich Durch Vorurteile campaign (in English, Cross Out Prejudice) will encourage grassroots and professional clubs, as well as NGOs, educational institutions and regional governments in promoting creating a welcoming culture for refugees in German society through football.
The comprehensive integration initiative, which will be implemented over the next two years, is divided in three different tiers. The first will engage up to 600 grassroots clubs in delivering free training sessions, football and educational activities for refugees. Grants of €500 will be made available to cover costs, such as equipment and membership fees.
At a regional level, larger scale projects will be developed and implemented by NGOs, local governments, educational organisations and professional clubs, to assist and provide new opportunities through education and sport to refugees.
The third tier comprises a publicity campaign, supported by Bundesliga players and clubs, and a series of dedicated matches, including the German national team friendly against Australia on Wednesday 24 March.
Matches of the 26th round of the German 2. Bundesliga, which kicks-off today, will see a number of stadium activities promote the ‘Cross out Prejudice’ message, as well encounters of the men’s third league and women’s Bundesliga.
A series of videos featuring well-known Bundesliga players and a dedicated website were presented at the launching event yesterday, in Berlin, where the DFB president Wolfgang Niersbach, the Bundesliga president Reinhard Rauball and the German minister for Migration, Refugees and Integration, Aydan Özoğul, introduced the campaign to the media.
A number of clubs, including FC Schalke 04, 1. FSV Mainz 05, Hannover 96, FC Bayern München, Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund, have already joined the campaign. The newly launched initiative follows a series of previous interventions led by German football to boost the inclusion of refugees and ethnic minorities through the game, such as the 1993 campaign ‘My friend is a foreigner’ and the Mercedes/Benz integration awards for best practice of sporting inclusive programmes.
Follow the campaign on Twitter through the hash tag #strichdurchvorurteile