Fans across Europe say no to discrimination

It’s still not too late to get involved with the FARE European Action Week against Racism in Football which runs until Tuesday, October 28, 2008. The Europe-wide campaign has also seen domestic action from Kick It Out and Show Racism The Red Card.

The initiative, which is supported by UEFA, will feature nearly 1,000 actions by campaigners, fans, clubs, national associations and ethnic minority groups across Europe. This is the ninth FARE Action Week and sees an unprecedented 40 European countries involved in a concerted effort to rid the game of racism and exclusion.

The recent controversy at Atletico Madrid shows that far-right activity and racism is still happening at some grounds and FARE has called for renewed efforts to tackle all forms of discrimination while applauding UEFA’s new, tougher approach. The sanctions handed down to Atletico Madrid – which included a suspended stadium ban and fine – were the harshest to have been imposed for racism.

Kurt Wachter of the Austrian FARE partner FairPlay. Different Colours. One Game. said:

“Penalties act as a wake-up call for clubs and associations failing to address the racism problem at heart. FARE’s approach was always to raise awareness and to educate. There is a need to build partnerships with those fans and minorities who are challenging racism on a daily basis. The Action Week is a unique opportunity to spotlight these grass-root groups who are often on the margins of football.” 

Importantly FARE also look to challenge what they term “the last taboo” – homophobia within football – with events around Europe. It’s encouraging to see the Football Association also taking this message on board. Last week they hosted a debate at their headquarters with a panel featuring Peter Tatchell and broadcaster Bob Ballard.

This has been a real grassroots movement with more than 200 actions taking place across the UK backed by a huge variety of organisations – including a number funded and carried out by the FSF. If you would like to hear more about actions taking place in your area please email Dani Wurbs.