FARE representatives were recently invited to deliver a speech at the UEFA reception on the opening day of European Sports Forum in Verona (21-22 November 2003). To correspond to the launch of the European Year of Education through Sport 2004, UEFA have chosen the theme “Unite Against Racism”. Participants represented more than 100 different sport federations, sport ministries and European Union institutions.
In the opening address UEFA Vice-President and Norwegian FA president Per Omdal stressed the power of football to overcome distinctions of ethnicity, colour and belief and that more than 20 Million active football players across the continent demonstrate this integrating role of football. Omdal said that UEFA is happy to work in partnership with FARE to combat racism in the game and that UEFA
“will not rest until the evil of racism is driven away from the football fields”. Other football officials present included UEFA Vice-President Senes Erzik, Mathieu Sprengers, president of the Dutch Football Association and Lars-Christer Olsson, who will be the new UEFA Chief Executive Officer form 1 January 2004.
Piara Powar of FARE partner organisation Kick it Out talked during his speech about the success of the recent FARE Action Week in October with several hundreds of different events and initiatives in 24 European countries.
FARE also contributed to a workshop in the framework of the European Sports Forum on “Sports as a Factor for Social Integration”. Kurt Wachter of FairPlay put an emphasis on need for anti-racist measures in Sport in the context of next year’s enlargement of the European Union.
The published workshop conclusions mention “the positive role that sport plays in the inclusion of ethnic minorities and immigrants as well as in the fight against racism and xenophobia”.
For the full text of the conclusions go to: