FIFA shows stance against racism24 June 2005

Anti-Discrimination action at FIFA Confederations Cup

Starting today with the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Youth Championship in the Netherlands and continuing on Saturday with the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup, FIFA will celebrate it’s 4th worldwide Anti-Discrimination Day.

The top teams of both tournaments will deliver a clear anti-racism message before kick-off. The activities will feature two main elements: a declaration read by the teams’ captains condemning and rejecting discrimination in football and in society, and the teams and match officials posing together with a large “Say No to Racism” banner.

In a circular letter to all 205 FIFA member associations FIFA General Secretary Urs Linsi is requesting to integrate these anti-discrimination elements into the official pre-match protocol of the next World Cup qualifier match.

Also the women’s world footballer Birgit Prinz who recently won the European Women’s Championship in England with Germany joins the campaign and is one of the FIFA ambassadors against racism. Thierry Henry, spearhead of Nike’s “Stand Up, Speak Up!” wristband campaign and FIFA’s captain of their newly created group of Ambassadors against Racism, also added his support for the initiative,
“If all parties involved in football join in condemning and acting against discrimination, there is hope for eradicating it from our sport. I commend the active participation of the teams in the Netherlands and Germany which shows the players' rejection of racism and their willingness to fight it.”

In 2001, the FIFA Congress in Buenos Aires passed a resolution against discrimination which is now more pertinent than ever. Any action that affirms this resolution is seen as most welcome, especially after the high-profile international incidents that have occurred recently.
The network Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) was strongly involved in the preparation of the conference and the resolution. FARE members spoke on the issue of racism and discrimination to the participants of the 205 member associations. At this conference FIFA decided to hold annually an international anti-discrimination day. Recently FIFA and FARE held talks to re-establish a closer partnership.

Daniela Conti, from the Italian FARE partner Unione Italiana Sport Per Tutti (UISP), said,
“FARE welcomes the new activities from FIFA. FIFA was at the forefront in the fight against racism in 2001. We are happy that they strengthen now the efforts to combat racism in the game.”

Social responsibility
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter said,
“Football has a unique power that can and must be used to promote human development and peace and to expel discrimination from society. We are delighted to present our competitions not only as a sporting spectacle but also as a channel to raise awareness on the pressing social issues of our days. This is part of our social responsibility.”