A huge forthcoming anti-racism conference in Barcelona is set to bring the European football community together in an important show of strength against intolerance and discrimination in football.
This 2nd Conference Against Racism in European Football, this time at the Camp Nou stadium on 1 February, is being organised by UEFA in co-operation with FARE and the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), in conjunction with FC Barcelona. Star players, football personalities, Spanish and European politicians and delegates from UEFA's 52 member associations are being invited to the event, which follows a successful conference held at Stamford Bridge, the home of Chelsea FC in London, in spring 2003.
UEFA said on Tuesday that those invited to address the conference include UEFA Chief Executive Lars-Christer Olsson; Daniella Conti (FARE); former Chelsea FC defender Paul Elliott, who is a special adviser to the UK Commission for Racial Equality; representatives from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe; the European Commission; the European Parliament; the Spanish government and the Generalitat de Catalunya; Charlie Brooks from the Stand Up Speak Up campaign; and former Ghanaian international Anthony Baffoe. The full conference agenda and main speakers will be published in full closer to the event.
No place in society
In his welcome notes to the conference, UEFA President Lennart Johansson said,
“Racism is unquestionably one of the most abject forms of disrespect towards fellow human beings. It has no place in our society and even less so in team sports like football, where all members of the team are equally important when it comes to achieving the desired result.
UEFA has decided to do everything within its power to rid football of this scourge and appreciates the assistance of similarly minded organisations such as FARE, with which it has already worked for several years.”
Piara Powar, of the UK FARE partner Kick It Out, added,
“The conference is an important opportunity for us all to map out the quickest route to a game free of racism and discrimination. We are particularly pleased with our relationship with UEFA, which has taken on the role of a proactive governing body. But at national level, some administrators in the game are in denial, or do not understand what action to take. One of our aims is to bridge this gap in understanding.”