The first semi-final encounter at St. Jakob-Park in Basle on 25th June represented a highlight of the joint FARE and UEFA Unite Against Racism campaign at UEFA EURO 2008.
The team captains of Germany and Turkey addressed the 40.000 fans in the stadium and many more millions of TV viewers around the globe with a message against racism and for diversity directly from the field of play. After the national anthem Recber Rüstü of Turkey and Michael Ballack of Germany spoke through the stadium loudspeaker system in their native language:
“I and my team mates wish to make clear that we stand against of all forms of discrimination.
“We have seen over the last three weeks how football can bring people together to enjoy our common passion whatever our religion, nationality or skin colour.
“Please join us to Unite Against Racism.”
During the anti-racism statements, which were translated and displayed on the two giant screens, the two teams lined-up in front of two huge Unite Against Racism flags. Fans of both teams applauded the initiative.
On 26th June before the second semi-final match in Vienna, the Spanish team captain Iker Casillas and his Russian counterpart Sergei Semak will also address their fans with an anti-racism message.
No to racism choreography
To reiterate the message for equality and against any form of discrimination, fans were invited to participate in a La-Ola choreography against racism. Before kick-off thousands of spectators , including UEFA President Michel Platini, put the colourful wave capes carrying the slogan “No to Racism” and raised them over their head when the wave came close. We will also see thousands of yellow, green, blue and red capes at the Ernst-Happel stadion in Vienna before the Spain-Russia semifinal.
In what has become an established feature of this tournament, Michael Ballack and Recber Rüstü wore captains armbands with the slogan “Unite Against Racism” and the anti-racism video spot was on display on the giant screens. In addition to the regular “No to racism” pitchside board donated by the national sponsor Hublot, UEFA also displayed the anti-racism message on their “Respect” pitchside boards.