Football for Equality Seminar in Bratislava – Call for Participation22 March 2011

A European seminar to be hosted by the Slovak FARE partner organization – People against Racism – will focus on issues of anti-Roma prejudice and discrimination as well as homophobia in sport in Central and Eastern Europe.

The event takes place on 8-10 April in the Slovak capital Bratislava and will attract a group of 30 anti-discrimination NGOs, ethnic minority and migrant organisations, LGBT sport groups, football governing bodies and fan organisations from within the European Union. The activists, experts and football administrators will discuss ways of tackling the widespread discrimination of Roma communities through the medium of football and explore the potential of football as a tool to foster the social inclusion of Roma.

The president of Ludia Proti Rasizmu, Irena BIHARIOVA, who is a Roma herself, said

“Entrenched structural discrimination prohibits the active participation of Roma. For them the idea of sport as a leveller or as a means of enhancing personal and collective development is far removed from the reality. Football in Central and Eastern Europe can play a vital role in addressing the widespread discrimination of Roma and creating a space of equality.”

Counteract the silence surrounding homophobia
The other main issues to be discussed at the Football for Equality seminar will be the challenges facing Lesbian and Gay athletes and footballers across Europe. Performing professional sport and being a successful athlete while being gay are usually seen as a total contradiction. Open discrimination based on sexual orientation still poses a big problem in football in particular.

The seminar will feature two workshops covering- Roma Inclusion Through Football and Challenging Homophobia in Central and Eastern European Sport. The workshops will be followed by plenary sessions on the anti-discrimination activities related to the UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine – the first major football tournament in Eastern Europe – and also discuss future initiatives.

Call for Participation
The organizers will give 10 sport-related grass-roots organisations – preferably Roma or LGBT activists – the opportunity to participate for free in the seminar.

If you are interested in attending the seminar, please fill in the Registration Form (download below) and return it to, by 25 March, 2011 (12:00 CET).The organizers – People Against Racism – will cover your travel, accommodation and catering expenses related to the seminar. Upon receiving your registration, they will provide you with your travel details as well as up-to-date information concerning the seminar.

Background to the Project
The project “Football for Equality– Challenging racist and homophobic stereotypes in and through football” is a European initiative carried out by various partner organisations linked to the FARE network together with the European Gay and Lesbian Sports Federation (EGLSF). The project started in autumn 2009 and is co-financed by the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship programme of the European Commission.

To conclude part one of the Football for Equality project, the Slovak project partner Ludia Proti Rasizmu (People against Racism) will host a closing seminar in cooperation with FairPlay- VIDC.

The seminar forms also part of the Unite Against Racism Development Programme in Eastern Europe (EEDP) which is a long term project of the FARE Network funded by UEFA. Its main goal is to create an anti-racist foothold and activities, aimed towards the upcoming UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine. This project, based in Poland, runs also in Slovakia, Ukraine and Hungary. People against Racism are the national coordinators of the EEDP project in Slovakia.

For a more details, download the preliminary programme here: