United in the Balkans – 5th Vienna FairPlay Cup26 May 2007

In association with the Balkan Alpe Adria Project (BAAP) Austrian FARE partner FairPlay-vidc are organising a series of activities until the end of 2008 designed to overcome nationalism and racism in the Balkans. FairPlay-vidc are being supported in this by the Belgian King Baudouin Foundation as a part of Nike's Stand Up, Speak Up campaign and by UEFA.

The first activities took place back in August 2006, when an international football tournament against discrimination and nationalism in the Balkans was staged in the small Serbian town of Smederevo. Youth teams from Macedonia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Bulgaria and Serbia attended the under-16 event to underline their desire for a new beginning in the Balkans untainted by racism, nationalism and violence.

For organiser Alexander Rakowitz, BAAP project manager and chairman of the Vienna-based amateur club Prater SV, the tournament was a major success and an important step forwards: “To see the youngsters and their adult supervisors cast aside their ethnic and religious differences to have fun together and thus bridge the divides left by the civil war was very moving and encouraging for the future.”

A host of professional clubs, youth clubs and Roma organisations in the area took part in the European week of action organised by FARE in October 2006. This summer the project will continue with tournaments and an education programme in Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

In addition to the activities in the Balkans the exchange with Austria plays an important role in helping to break down chauvinistic attitudes in the Balkans. With this in mind youth teams from the clubs FK Smederevo, Olympic Novisad and Rad Belgrade will contest the 5th Vienna FairPlay Cup along with Austrian teams such as hosts Prater SV, Fav AC, a joint Austrian-Turkish side and many more besides on Whit Saturday, 26 May, at the ASKÖ-Wien “Spenadlwiese” sportsground (Prater Hauptallee) from 12 o'clock onwards.