The 8th year of the FARE Action Week closes today with prominent action at league matches in Italy and Serbia, after almost two weeks of a series of high profile and grassroots events.
In Italy players from UC Sampdoria and AC Milan will enter the pitch with a banner against racism. The project has been organised by fan group Rude Boys & Girls who will support the players with an anti-racist choreography.
In Belgrade the players of both teams, Partizan and Borac Cacak, will carry onto the pitch two big banners with the Partizan motto “We don’t divide, black – white, we unite“.
During the warm-up the players as well as the referees will wear anti-racism message t-shirts. Cacak’s supporters brought shame on the club after racist incidents last season.
In October 2006 a group of Borac supporters put on Klu Klux Klan hoods and displayed banners bearing messages such as “The player should go, no one wants him here” and “The South will rise again” in demonstration against one of their own players – Mike Tamvaniere of Zimbabwe.
The fans also put up the Confederate flag of the Southern states in the US, shouting “With Hitler, Hitler and Sieg Heil” and monkey chanted Tamvaniere (for more details see www.farenet.org).
Young boys Berne
In Switzerland the anti-racism activities of the Super League will be rounded up in November with an event at Young Boys Bern against FC Zurich, where the fan club “Together Against Racism/HalbZeit” will organize both teams to display banners “Together against racism” and “Together against sexism”.
The players are also involved in the video spot to be broadcast on the stadium video screen in which they make anti-racist statements.
Additionally, the fans will fix a 50 metre-long banner on the tribune, produce special t-shirts and perform a choreography in their block.
UEFA EURO 2008tm qualifiers highlight the fight against racism
Several EURO qualifying matches opened this year's FARE Action Week on 17 October.
At the match Bosnia-Herzegovina against Norway, players presented a banner saying “No to Racism, stop Nationalism”.
In Malta children wore t-shirts with an anti-racist message and also players of the Malta and Moldova teams had been involved in the action by showing a red card to racism at the line-up.
At the match Ireland against Cyprus team captains wore “Unite Against Racism” armbands and kids brought a huge anti-racist banner onto the pitch. Similar activities took place in Kiev where a banner with an anti-racism message was displayed in front of the players of Ukraine and Faroe Islands. Further activities took place at the qualifiers Netherlands vs. Slovenia, Germany vs. Czech Republic, Turkey vs. Greece, Belgium vs. Armenia and Poland vs. Hungary.
Additionally, at the friendly match between Austria and Cote d'Ivoire in Innsbruck anti-racism activities involved an African national team. Fans in the stadium performed choreographies, kids wore t-shirts with the slogan “One Ball – One World”.
UEFA's flagship club competition, the Champions League, provided also a platform for the FARE Action Week. Europe's top football stars helped to spread the message that racism and discrimination have no place in European football. All 32 teams taking part in the UEFA Champions League showed their opposition to racism as part of UEFA's contribution to the FARE Action Week.
Fans from all over Europe play an active role within the FARE Action Week. Anti-racist activities and choreographies had been organised by fan clubs at league matches in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, England, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and Ukraine.
The Brigada Anti Fascista, where several fan clubs from Standard de Liège are cooperating, produced a giant banner, whilst the Bohemians Ultras from FC Bohemians 1905 distributed stickers.
The Association Portuguesa de Adeptos distributed flyers at FC Porto, Riazor Blues from Deportivo La Coruña produced antiracist t-shirts for the match against Valencia CF, and the Brigadas Amarillas prepared an anti-homophobic banner for the second league match Cádiz CF vs. Las Palmas.
In Greece the supporters showed red cards against racism at all matches of the first league. In Germany fan clubs like Supporters Club Düsseldorf, Filmstadtinferno Babelsberg, Chosen Few Hamburg/Poptown '98 /Blaue Armee Fraktion from Hamburger SV, Schalker Fan-Initiative, Faninitiative 1953international Dresden, Wilde Horde 1996 from Cologne, Sportstudio Hundert Meister Duisburg and many more organised anti-racist projects. The Fanladen St. Pauli and the Hertha Junxx staged activities to fight homophobia in football. In France choreographies took place at Paris St. Germain and AS Nancy. In Austria special anti-racist choreographies happened at Rapid Vienna, SV Mattersburg, Wacker Innsbruck and SCR Altach when the players showed racism the red card.
European top leagues make a stand against racism
This is the first year that Israel will be taking part in the Week of Action against racism and discrimination. The event takes place on November 4th, prior to the Israeli Premier League’s biggest game, between Beitar Jerusalem and Maccabi Haifa. The aim is to combat racism against Israel's Arab ethnic minority, immigrant players and overseas Black players.
Also for the first time the leagues in Greece, Sweden and Switzerland participated at the FARE Action Week.
The regular participation of all 92 professional clubs in England and Scotland has to be mentioned, with over a thousand events taking place. The German Bundesliga expanded its engagement over the two weekends, in that all 36 clubs had the possibility to perform an anti-racist activity at a home match. The leagues were active also in Austria, Republic of Ireland, Macedonia, Portugal, Serbia and Slovenia.
Activities were designed to raise awareness of the issue and underline football's determination to tackle the problem. The initiatives were led by campaigning NGOs, fan groups, clubs, national associations, ethnic minorities, youth groups and schools.
The FARE Action Week is coordinated by the Football Against Racism in Europe network in cooperation with UEFA.