European parliament to back drive against racism29 November 2005

Members of the European Parliament will add their voice to the drive to tackle racism as problems in European football hit the headlines again. On 30th November 2005, MEP’s will launch a Declaration in Brussels commending the work of the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) network and call for action by FA’s, Leagues and Clubs across the continent. The Declaration will achieve the rare status of a motion if a majority of the 732 MEP’s in the parliament give their backing.

Ongoing struggle
The launch comes just days after racism yet again hit the European headlines. During a Italian Serie A match on Sunday 27 November, Messina's Ivory Coast defender Marc Zoro picked up the ball and headed off the pitch after being subjected to a disgusting torrent of racist abuse by some sections of the visiting Inter Milan supporters. The Italian FA have announced that all midweek Italian cup fixtures along with next week's league games, at all levels down to amateur football, will be delayed by 5 minutes with the players taking to the field holding banners declaring 'No to Racism'.

As part of events in the parliament, the FARE Network will be hosting a public ‘Hearing’ on the issue to present the development of the FARE network over the last five years and identify the challenges and priorities for future action.

The Hearing will feature speakers including former Chelsea, Bari and Celtic defender, Paul Elliott, and former FC Schalke 04 midfielder, Yves Eigenrauch. They will be joined by leading European Politicians and prominent campaigners against racism from across the continent. Representing European football’s governing body, will be William Gaillard, UEFA Director of Communications.

Piara Powar, of UK FARE partner Kick It Out, commented,
“In the 5 years the FARE network has been campaigning against racism and discrimination in football. Good progress can be reported, but as events at the Messina v Inter game in Italy this weekend highlighted – we still have a lot of work ahead of us.

There are no easy solutions to tackling racism within Europe but we are hopeful the declaration can be a significant step in moving forward the issue and gaining political support for campaigners across Europe.”