With just a few weeks to go until UEFA EURO 2008TM the Austrian Football Association (ÖFB) are teaming up with FARE partner FairPlay to put down another marker for intercultural dialogue and against discrimination in football by sending out an anti-racism message at the international friendly between Austria and Nigeria at the UPC Arena in Graz on 27 May 2008. The action is being supported by the organisation Austrian Development Cooperation (OEZA) in order to emphasise the links between football and anti-racism/development policy.
Players, fans and artists show racism the red card
Players of both sides and the match officials will show racism the red card when the teams line up before the game. They will be accompanied by children who will carry a banner bearing the message “Football against Racism” onto the pitch. The activities on the pitch will be backed by a mosaic in the stands and performances by the artists Gianna and Item 7.
Super Eagles meet Austria for the first time
The game sees Austria take on the Super Eagles from Nigeria for the first time. Many of the Nigerian players ply their trade in Europe. But star striker Nwankwo Kanu of Premier League club Portsmouth also works on behalf of African players who do not make the grade in Europe: “I want to help the players”, said Kanu. “Many of them have experienced terrible things.”
Anyone wishing to see the Super Eagles up close should get down to the Welcome FairPlay – After Show Party (hosted by Austrian TV presenter Arabella Kiesbauer) that is being staged by the Urban Roots club after the game at the Postgarage (Dreihackengasse 42, Graz). Players and fans will join forces off the pitch to lay down a marker against racism and for integration through sport and music. The high point will be a VIP reception for the Super Eagles!
Unite Against Racism
The forthcoming UEFA EURO 2008TM will send out a strong anti-racism message. In association with UEFA and with the support of the Austrian FA, FIFPro and the Austrian Federal Chancellery, the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) network will be organising a series of activities under the Unite Against Racism motto.
The activities kick off at the opening game in Basel on 7 June and will include the unveiling of the campaign clip that will be shown at every tournament game. Before the semi-final matches the respective team captains will read out a statement against racism. The message will also be highly visible on the perimeter hoardings. A Streetkick tour through the Austrian host cities plus Geneva will target young people and fans from every country. There will also be a fanzine and an exhibition.