FARE conference highlight issues facing ethnic minorities in football16 May 2007

The FARE network conference, 'Football, Ethnic Minorities and Equality', to be held in Paris on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th May, will attract 150 representatives from NGOs, ethnic minority organisations, supporters groups, clubs and governing bodies including UEFA.

Key issues to be discussed include the involvement of ethnic minorities and migrants as fans, the trafficking of young African players to Europe, and the role football can play in integrating new communities into European society. Ongoing work to support the inclusion of minorities in football will also be highlighted.

The conference is jointly organised by the French FARE partner LICRA in partnership with the French Football Federation (FFF) and Paris-Saint Germain. The international gathering with participants form more than 20 European countries will take place at the new FFF headquarters in Paris' 15th arrondissement.

Piara Powar, Director of Kick It Out – a leading member of the FARE network, said:
„We hope the conference will provide a platform for disempowered communities to raise awareness of the problems they face in football.

„Many of those attending are using football as a tool to help give members of ethnic minority communities something positive in their lives. Therefore it is essential we support these processes and ensure we are doing all that we can to make the game as inclusive as possible“.

Carine Bloch, vice-president of LICRA and co-organizer of the conference, added:
„This event should give us the opportunity to focus on racist issues in amateur and professional football, such as the trafficking of young African players to Europe.
„But it is also the occasion to highlight and exchange good practices among the grassroots groups of FARE network and governing bodies in Europe. Thanks to the conference, we will develop new ideas on the social mix and how to achieve real equality in football in future years“.

Speakers at the opening session will be UEFA communications director William Gaillard, Fernand Duchaussoy, president of the French Amateur League and former national team player Luc Sonor of the French players union. Other participants include Anthony Baffoe, former Metz & Ghana player, the president of St. Etienne, Bernard Caiazzo, PSG manager Paul Le Guen and Pedro Velazquez of the Sports Unit of the European Commission.

Previous FARE networking conferences were hosted by Sheffield United FC (2002), FC Schalke 04 (2004) and ASK Inter Bratislava (2005).