Mondiali Antirazzisti 2008 starts today11 July 2008

Huge numbers gather at Mondiali to send anti-racist message across Europe

More than 6000 people from 50 countries will be joining one of the largest football festivals in Europe this weekend in a stand against racism and discrimination. Over 200 teams will be taking part in the Mondiali Antirazzisti 2008 as it kicks off today just outside of Bologna in northern Italy. Launched in 1997 by FARE member Progetto Ultra, the Mondiali is widely acclaimed for using the game to bring together the diverse cultures of Europe.

The event has evolved to include a wide mix of cultural events such as dance, music, art and debates, with a strong emphasis on politics and social issues. Many of the debates and performances are transmitted live by web radio Asterisco.com.

Mondiali spokesperson Daniela Conti, is delighted with a strong turnout from teams across the globe:

The enduring appeal of the Mondialli means that more and more teams from around the world are inspired to register each year. We have teams from the USA, Afghanistan, Morrocco and of course many European nations.

We will be ensuring the event maintains its political and social stance too by sparking discussion about issues that affect minority communities across Europe, particularly those who have been victims of discrimination in recent times.

The 'Piazza antirazzista’, or the anti-racist square, really underpins our ethos of combining our collective passion for football with harmony and respect, by allowing teams to gain extra match points by showcasing anti-racist activities using pictures, journals and stimulating debate.

The tournament comes to a climax on Sunday 13th July with the final game decided by penalties.