More than 300 kids from seven different countries will kick together from 22 to 24 May under the motto “Vienna meets Balkan”.
The 8th International FairPlay-Youth Tournament will be organised from 22 to 24 May in Vienna and is backed by the City of Vienna. This intercultural tournament is part of the campaign Football Unites the Alps, Adriatic and the Balkans. Local communities, ethnic minorities, local football teams and international guests from Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Hungary and Slovakia will come together to play football, to have fun and to deepen the intercultural exchange. Local organisers of the event are the Viennes amateur football club Prater SV, the Balkan Alpe Adria Project (BAAP) and FARE partner organisation FairPlay-vidc.
Patron of the event is the Montenegro international Branko Bošković from Rapid Vienna:
I am very happy to support the international Vienna meets Balkan-FairPlay Cup. With the power and strength of football we have an instrument to fight racism, discrimination and nationalism. Football is a sport for everyone: origin, colour of the skin, religion, boy or girl, young or old – that just doesn’t count.
I want to emphasize that it is not important who will win the tournament, it is important that all of the participants contribute to the joint goal of fighting discrimination and nationalism and are taking home the spirit of intercultural respect and understanding.
FairPlay-Streetkick and Workshop
The FairPlay-Streetkick court will bring even more intercultural exchange and fun. It has already been part of the FARE fan-hosting and anti-racism programme at the EURO 2004 and 2008 as well as at the World Cup 2006.
Also a creative workshop to develop joint banners and flags against discrimination and to support all teams will be provided. Additionally an information point will be present at the tournament area. A specially produced bilingual bulletin will be handed out to the children and visitors.
Inter Bratislava youth team mixes with Roma youths
Slovak FARE partner organisation People Against Racism managed to initiate a joint team from both clubs, Inter Bratislava and FC Stefanov, a team consisting mainly of Roma players.
This initiative of a mixed youth team joining the “Vienna meets Balkan” tournament is funded by FARE through a special project pool for Roma inclusion projects.
Football Unites Alpe, Adria and the Balkans
Following the successful initiation of the Football Unites the Alps, Adriatic and the Balkans campaign 2006 – 2009 from BAAP, FairPlay-VIDC, the European network FARE – Football Against Racism in Europe and various regional and international stakeholders the activities were set to continue from January 2010 until December 2012.
BAAP-Co-ordinator Alexander Rakowitz highlights the importance of the joint campaign:
From the beginning we created a network with partners and stakeholders in the Western Balkans. Now we will see the first results of these networking efforts and for the first time after the conflicts and wars in former Yugoslavia we developed a joint initiative with three different Football Associations in the region and with support of UEFA. Also football clubs, local communities, NGOs and other relevant stakeholders are part of our network in the fight against discrimination and nationalism in football in the Western Balkans.
The activities are geographically focused on the basis of the co-operations with the football associations of Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Serbia.
In summary, the programme seeks to:
• Use football as an instrument of intercultural dialogue and understanding
• Educate supporters and youth team representatives of clubs on the dangers of ethnic nationalism and racism
• Overcome nationalism, in particular among youth teams, by means of youth exchange in which all communities participate
• Use football as a medium to communicate an integrating message targeting young people and to the general public
Funding for activities to tackle the issues outlined here is provided by the football associations of Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Serbia, UEFA and the City of Vienna.