European leagues, Football Associations, top-tier clubs and international players came together as one during week one of this year’s action weeks, helping back the campaign with a message of diversity and inclusion for all.
At all UEFA 58 club competition matches played between 23-25 October, including Champions League, Europa League and Women’s Champions League, players will line-up for a mixed photo and display the hashtag of UEFA’s anti-discrimination and social inclusion campaign #EqualGame.
Videos played on giant screens, announcements made over the stadium loudspeakers and child mascots wearing #EqualGame t-shirts will encourage those at the stadium and at home to stand up to discrimination and to embrace diversity.
UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin said: “I am glad to offer UEFA’s continued support to our partner Fare for this year’s Football People weeks.”
“There is no place for racism, discrimination and intolerance in football, and UEFA has a zero-tolerance policy towards such conduct”, he added.
The 2018 #FootballPeople weeks are just around the corner and we are delighted to once again have the backing of UEFA for the campaign. Thankyou to UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin for lending your support. Not long to go now! pic.twitter.com/siP60PkJeO
— Fare (@farenet) October 4, 2018
This year’s weeks will be the biggest yet and the support of professional football is paving the way for fans and governing bodies across Europe to follow and join the campaign.
Tibor Navrascics, EU commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport said:
— Fare (@farenet) October 11, 2018
Football Associations back the Football People weeks
During the international break all match day programmes for UEFA games featured a one-page bulletin on the action weeks, with comment from UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin and Fare executive director Piara Powar.
In Croatia, World Cup finalist and FC Barcelona star Ivan Rakitic threw his support behind the action weeks on behalf of the Croatia national team.
"Everybody needs an opportunity to play and watch the most beautiful game regardless of origin or physical capabilities. There is no place for racism and discrimination in football. Let us support #FootballPeople Weeks together and feel welcome in football #family"
– @ivanrakitic pic.twitter.com/5jSvehgVLx
— HNS | CFF (@HNS_CFF) October 14, 2018
The Welsh FA brought men’s and women’s national team players together to send a message of inclusion for all.
— FA WALES (@FAWales) October 11, 2018
The Italian football federation brought star players Giorgio Chiellini and Lorenzo Insigne out to represent the Football People weeks.
Dal 2011 la 🇮🇹 #FIGC ⚽️ supporta #FARE Action Weeks. Giorgio #Chiellini e Lorenzo #Insigne dicono no alla discriminazione.#FootballAgainstRacism in #Europe 🇪🇺 #UEFA #FootballPeople pic.twitter.com/E8jXZo9MqF
— Nazionale Italiana ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@Vivo_Azzurro) October 15, 2018
In Kazakhstan, national team captain Dmitry Shomko delivered a message of support before their nation’s UEFA Nations League clash with Andorra.
The Belgian FA dedicated their UEFA Nations League match to the #FootballPeople weeks with a video about Fare broadcast and player escorts carrying Fare flags onto the pitch. The KBVB will also host a ‘Football and Diversity’ conference and panel discussion on the 22nd October that aims to create an action plan to tackle discriminatory chants at football matches. The event will focus on refugee inclusion and how to use football to promote integration, with a particular focus on refugee women and girls.
Ook dit jaar ondersteunt het Belgisch voetbal de #FootballPeople Action Weeks ! Ontdek onze verschillende diversiteitsprojecten tijdens de conferentie ‘Voetbal en diversiteit’ op maandag 22 oktober 2018.
— Royal Belgian FA (@RoyalBelgianFA) October 15, 2018
The Football Associations of Cyprus, Georgia, Iceland, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Moldova, Lithuania, Russia and more all shared their support by sending pictures of national team captains and star players wearing a Football People t-shirt.
Clubs get involved
Many clubs across Europe have done the same, including AEL Limassol, Appolon Limasol FC, AEK Larnaka, FC BATE Borisov, FC Internazionale, Juventus, FC Viktoria Plzeň, Shamrock Rovers, Cork City FC, Panserraikos FC, APOEL FC, CSKA Moscow, Dinamo Moscow, AC Sparta Praha, GNK Dinamo Zagreb, West Ham United, FC Zurich and more.
In Greece, AEK Athens and PAOK FC produced videos featuring the team’s top players sending a message against discrimination.
The clubs also took to social media to further their support. PAOK ran content on their website, social media and through videos displayed on their stadium screens, with an interview with Fernando Varela on racism in football and a message of inclusion for Greece. The Greek Super League also backed the campaign.
— PAOK FC / ΠAOK (@PAOK_FC) October 13, 2018
AEK Larnaka have shown continued backing to the #FootballPeople weeks with messages on social media, videos and news articles on their website.
Dynamo Dresden announced their players would be supporting with t-shirts reading “Love Dinamo, Hate Racism” at their game against Erzgebirge Aue. Valencia CF posted a video on their Twitter page in support.
En el marco de las semanas #FootballPeople de https://t.co/82mpdljir4 y UEFA, la campaña más grande en Europa 🇪🇺 para el cambio social y la diversidad en el fútbol 👏👏👏 https://t.co/g9zVz7t3n1 pic.twitter.com/Vh6IcOdvhz
— Valencia CF 🦇🍊🌊 (@valenciacf) October 14, 2018
Women’s teams including Olympique Lyonnais in France and Bayern Munich Women have also backed the campaign, with multiple Champions League-winning star Wendie Renard showing her support.
— OL English (@OL_English) October 12, 2018