We welcome refugees as part of a discrimination-free football say Football People fan groups28 October 2015

Footballfansareattheheartofthegameandinmanycountriestheyareoftenthemostprogressivevoices.DuringtheFootballPeopleactionweekstheybroughtcolourandpassiontothestadiumsforacauseunitedmanyfangroupsopposeddiscriminationandfar-rightideologies,celebratingthebestinfootball.

Welcome to refugees
With the focus on refugees in Europe, several stadium choreographies welcomed those who have fled from their homes due to war and persecution.

Austrian fan group Arge ToR – Arbeitsgemeinschaft Tribüne ohne Rassismus organised one of the most impressive stadium displays, when they unfurled a giant banner at the Blau Weiss Linz match, on 17 October, reading: “say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here”. The initiative, which was accompanied by a video detailing its production from the creative stages to its set up on the match day, was shared and reposted by hundreds on social media.

In a similar move, the ultra groups of the German Bundesliga team 1. FC Köln, Coloniacs, Spanish fan group Brigadas Amarillas, and the Irish fans 1895 Trust, organised stadium displays in which large banners sent messages in support of refugees.

In Dortmund, Germany, Ballspiel.vereint! teamed up with the Borussia Dortmund education centre, BVB Lernzentrum, to invite 50 refugees to watch the Bundesliga fixture against Mainz 05.

Also in Germany, where the interior ministry estimates that 800,000 asylum seekers and refugees will arrive in 2015, Fortuna Düsseldorf supporters’ liaison officer and supporters’ project organised a memorial tour to the Auschwitz concentration camp and Cracow, in remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust.

Fans of the Danish second division Brønshøj Boldklub, Brønshøj Drunken Army, invited 50 refugees to attend the club’s home fixture on 24 October, which was preceded by a friendly tournament between the refugees and the fan group. During the match, the group displayed anti-discriminatory banners and distributed t-shirts with the same message among the stands. Football equipment was collected during the day, with the help of local shops and club-sponsors, to be donated to refugee aid groups.

In the Czech Republic Bohemians Prague Barflies United hosted a tournament for refugees.

Fans against homophobia
Another big issue addressed by fans during the Football People action weeks was homophobia in football. In England, the LGBT supporters group of the fan-owned FC United of Manchester organised events in the stands and alongside the club.

An FC United against Transphobia banner was unfurled at the mens and womens teams matches. A social media campaign, in which players and club officers were photographed with the banner, accompanied the activity as well as informative material distributed on match days.

Fußballfans gegen Homophobie, a coalition of several supporter groups in Austria, distributed information and anti-discriminatory resources at several matches during the Football People weeks. Organisers are also producing a banner set to tour across Austria with the help of other fan groups.

Tackling racism
Initiatives in Spain and Germany embraced the fight against racism. VfB für Alle from Oldenburg, Germany, is running a week of activities against racism, 26-30 October, in which they will screen the film Istanbul United, hold stadiums activities and organise a talk on violence in stadiums.

Kolectivo Sur, the fan group of the Spanish club Xerez Deportivo, also organised a week long initiative to address racism, which included a football tournament among disenfranchised groups and anti-racism groups, a discussion on racism and the fight against discrimination, and, a stadium choreography.

Fare Football People partner and fans umbrella organisation RAHF organised a series of film and documentary screenings to address immigration, female empowerment and racism as well as Europe’s refugee crisis in Cádiz, Spain.

The group is also producing a video featuring different stories all linked by football.

Shalke 04 fans #FP2015

Shalke 04 fans #FP2015