The fight to rid football of racism is being given high-profile coverage at the UEFA European Under-19 Championship in Austria. From the opening games, spectators and the general public have understood the message that racism, intolerance and discrimination have no place in the game. Schools have also been key players in the campaign.
Before the match between hosts Austria and Spain in Linz on Monday, the two captains, Julian Baumgartlinger and Spain's Javier Martínez read statements which aroused the appreciation of nearly 12,000 fans. Baumgartlinger said football's power could help combat racism within the sport and in society. Anti-racism messages are visible in the stadium and all eight captains are wearing armbands urging unity in the fight against racism.
In the run-up to the tournament, the Austrian Football Association (ÖFB) launched a schools competition together with the FARE partner FairPlay. Different Colours. One Game,, as well as an action programme against intolerance. Some 58 school classes in the host venues Linz, Ried, Steyr and Pasching also took part in the 'Fair Play goes Education' school and young peoples' competition. Over 37 workshops, around 1,400 pupils examined the topics of intolerance, team work, solidarity and Fair Play. The result was over 100 special contributions and projects, which have been studied and voted upon by a jury.
Social day in Ried
On Thursday, a social day is taking place at the Altes Rieder Stadion in Ried (from 17.00CET) at which the winners in the various categories will be introduced and rewarded. Entries in the school competition will also be on show at all four U19 stadiums. Successful Fair Play Tournament Days have taken place in Steyr, Ried and Pasching, with over 500 youngsters aged between eleven and 15 playing in mixed teams in accordance with the ideals of sportsmanship and tolerance. Prizes in Steyr were presented by U19 tournament director Willi Ruttensteiner and finals ambassador Ronald Brunmayr.