The eighth FARE Action Week against racism and discrimination kicks off in Austria with an anti-racism event at the international friendly between Austria and Ivory Coast on 17 October.
The activities at the Tivoli Stadium in Innsbruck – one of the eight UEFA EURO 2008 venues – also mark the launch of the action programme of the Austrian Football Association (ÖFB) ahead of EURO 2008. In association with FARE's Austrian partners FairPlay and UEFA, the ÖFB aim to ensure that the European Championship will be an event for all sections of society.
Players, fans and artists show racism the red card
Players of both sides and the match officials will show racism the red card when the teams line up before the game. They will be accompanied by children who will carry a banner bearing the message “Football against Racism” onto the pitch. The activities on the pitch will be backed by mosaics in some of the stands and a performance by the Ayakata Dance Group.
Ivanschitz and Drogba also involved
Austria captain Andreas Ivanschitz (Panathinaikos FC) commented on behalf of the national team: “We are happy to support activities like this and do so with great conviction because they are still as important as ever. Football has and always should have a uniting effect and every one of us in the ground – players, officials and supporters – should act as role models and ensure there's no room for racism!”
Ivory Coast's Chelsea star Didier Drogba is another who supports the fight against racism in football: “It's very hard to live with racism. Whenever you think it's getting better you get some idiot who doesn't really know what he's talking about. It is our decision to take a stand against it. For me there's no difference between black and white.”
The Innsbruck-based campaign Initiative für gelebte Integration will also take part in the activities. Before the game supporters of both teams and the local African community in Tyrol will take part in a multicultural parade from the city centre to the stadium.