FARE activities in Portugal kick off14 June 2004

FARE reception in Porto

FARE’s activities in Portugal were officially launched at a reception held at the Sheraton Hotel in Porto on Saturday, 12 June. High-ranking politicians, officials from several football associations and travelling fans gathered to celebrate FARE’s past successes and discuss the various aspects of the work that needs to be done in the next few years. For the FARE workers in Porto it was particularly pleasing to see officials from major European football nations such as Italy, The Netherlands and Germany in attendance as delegates.

In their speeches, Gilberto Parca Madaíl, President of the Portuguese Football Association (FPF), Joaquim Evengelista, President of the Portuguese Players’ Union, Pat Cox, President of the European Parliament, William Gaillard, UEFA Director of Communications and Public Affairs and John Kellock of the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) paid tribute to FARE’s work and called upon everyone involved in football to remain vigilant with regard to racism.

Mr Cox stressed that FARE would “continue to receive every support from the European institutions and the European parliament”, while Mr Gaillard expressed his appreciation for the work FARE has put in so far and its partnership with UEFA, saying: “Through football we can learn that all people belong together irrespective of the colour of their skin and their ethnic background. This is why our work with FARE is so important”.

The reception was followed by a panel discussion involving well-known ex-professionals Paul Elliot (Celtic, Chelsea, Bari), Brendon Batson (West Bromwich Albion) and the former captain of Ghana, Anthony Baffoe (Fortuna Düsseldorf, FC Metz), who spoke about their shocking experiences of living with racism during their playing careers. They all agreed that great advances had been made in the fight against racism since then. “I wish there could have been an organisation around like FARE when I was playing”, said Baffoe, for example. Paul Elliot was delighted that so many people from different countries had joined together: “This shows that the fight against racism is now a pan-European one.”

FARE – Streetkick

After a trial run in Porto on the Friday the serious stuff begins today (June 14) for the FARE workers from the Sheffield-based “Football unites, Racism divides” organisation. In the run-up to the Denmark versus Italy game their inflatable Streetkick game will be in use on the campus of Guimarães University between 1030 and 1500. Thanks to FARE’s partnership with the FSI (Football Supporters’ International), lots of fans have been made aware of this great opportunity to pit their footballing skills against fans from other countries in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. More information on the inaugural Streetkick day will be posted here in the next few days.