Anti-racism World Cup in Italy reaches fever pitch09 July 2010

As the FIFA World Cup in South Africa enters the final phase also the Antiracist World Cup – the Mondiali Antirazzisti is going to reach fever pitch over the week-end.

In Casalecchio, a town near Bologna, the fourteenth edition of the non-commercial football festival is gathering 204 football teams from 34 different countries. The international anti-racism festival kicked off on July 7th and will go on for five days and is ending with the final on Sunday July 11th.

This year the Mondiali is dedicated to the theme of equal rights for. The organizers declare: We have to be aware that equality can’t exist of not all citizens living in one country enjoy the same equal rights.

Already on Tuesday participants from all over Europe started to set up their tents near spaces of the Salvador Allende sport park. On Wednesday morning, the park was already crowded by 250 children participating in the summer camps of UISP Bologna. The kids were engaged in games and sport activities. As it has become customary the first day was dedicated to the memory of the people who were active in the resistance during World War II.

The annual event is organised by the FARE partner organisation Progetto Ultrà – UISP Emilia Romagna – in collaboration with Istoreco, FARE – Football Against Racism in Europe, the City of Casalecchio and supported by the region of Emilia-Romagna and the province of Bologna.

The non-competitive tournament bring teams who have a diverse background: the majority of teams is made up by anti-racism groups (48), followed by migrant and ethnic minority teams (40) and Ultra and fan teams (35). 132 teams are mixed, 68 are made up of males only, 4 are women teams. Highest emphasis is put on fair play: there are no referees, only a pitch official is responsible for time-keeping and the score.

The Antiracist World Cup is not only about sport but also about music and party. Bands performing each night on the big open air stage include La Maquina (Spain), Jamaram (Germany), The Gang, Malavida and Los Fastidios (all Italy).

Focus on challenging homophobia and sexism
The Mondiali Antirazzisti continues its engagement in the fight against sexism and homophobia. Several openly gay and lesbian teams are taking part and Saturday afternoon is reserved for the women football tournament. Tonight a discussion on “Deconstruction of gender stereotypes” is taking place on the Piazza Antirazzista featuring Gaia Giuliani (University Sydney), Porpora Marciano (MIT), Jason Hall (Justin Campaign), Silvia Cavalieri (Donne Pensanti) and will discuss practical ways of tackling stereotypes in football.

Following the conference in Vienna last December and the conference of gay and lesbian fan groups in Berlin in May, the Mondiali Antirazzisti is another activity within the EU- project Football for Equality project.

The action is partly funded by the European Commission (DG Justice) under the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Programme and part of FAREs annual action plan supported by UEFA.

In 2009 the Antiracist World Cup suffered a massive financial hit due to two devastating thunderstorms. The organisers have launched a call for contributions to rescue the unique event.