Representatives from over 40 organisations were convened, including anti-racism campaigners, fan projects, fan clubs, football associations and players’ unions, for a seminar on ‘Networking Against Racism in European Football’.
It was there, at the Karl Renner Institute, the academy of the Austrian Social Democratic movement, where a grassroots event was held as part of an EU-funded programme by the Vienna-based Fairplay initiative at VIDC, in collaboration with Kick It Out, FURD, Show Racism the Red Card, SARI and Progetto Ultrà from Italy.
On the final day of this seminar the participants created an Action Plan. The plan made a commitment to fight racism, xenophobia, nationalism, sectarianism, anti-semitism and all forms of discrimination in and through football. “We commit ourselves to establish a network” they declared, and with that, the network was born.
In the days prior there had been a fierce debate on whether the new network should be called Fans against Racism in Europe, or Football Against Racism in Europe. This was due to the strong presence of supporter groups at the seminar. The group was later renamed as the more inclusive Fare network to reflect the scope of the membership and the issues being dealt with.
The network was established to act as a decentralised, grassroots network to facilitate anti-discrimination activity on various levels, ranging from transnational, Europe-wide initiatives to local football clubs. The enthusiasm and creativity of the founding organisations – and, from 2001, the support from UEFA – were crucial to developing Fare into what it is today: pioneers at the forefront of the fight for equality and inclusion in sport.
Over the years the Fare network has been highly successful in putting equality and anti-discrimination on the agenda of European and world football.
From local activism to global campaigns such as the #FootballPeople weeks, the focus on eradicating discrimination in football and using the sport as a tool for wider social inclusion defines the network.
To celebrate 20 years, Fare network will be holding an anniversary celebration in London on 31st March 2019. To mark the occasion we will honour 20 members of the Fare network who are leading the way, and 20 pioneering players or football personalities (coaches, activists etc) who have embodied the values of the Fare network during the last two decades.