German Week of Action off to a great start23 October 2006

Early signs are that the Week of Action in Germany is proving to be a huge success, with activities taking place at all thirty-six 1st and 2nd division games played so far, as well as at some 3rd division games.

Altogether 800,000 red cards bearing the message Show Racism the Red Card in German on the front and an explanatory text on the back together with the logos of FARE, Dem Ball egal' (DBE), the German FA (DFB) and the German Football League (DFL) have been distributed to the 38 clubs who played at home at the weekend of 21-22 October.

The players of all the teams involved also carried larger red cards onto the pitch and were accompanied by children wearing FARE T-shirts supplied by DBE. Players and fans then joined together to show racism the red card. All match programmes are thought to have included a text provided by DBE on the Action Week, and the stadium announcers also explained what the Action Week is about.

Some clubs carried out additional activities. At Schalke, for example, a video clip commissioned by the DFB was shown on the video cube. In an exemplary move, Bayer Leverkusen and shirt sponsors RWE agreed to replace the RWE logo on the front of their shirts with the Show Racism The Red Card message. The Leverkusen players wore this shirt at their match in Hamburg on 22nd October. The most prominent activity took place at Werder Bremen versus Bayern Munich, a game that was beamed to 93 countries across the world.

Stuart Dykes of 'Dem Ball egal' commented,
“We have been inundated with requests for information and materials from clubs, including many in the lower leagues who were not formally included in the action. We will be attempting to work with as many of the lower league clubs as possible, as this is where the problem can be particularly severe. Last Sunday, for example, fans of sixth-tier club Odenkirchen in Mönchengladbach screamed racist abuse and shouted Nazi slogans at the players and supporters of Turkish club Paschaspor, who are based in Krefeld. The police were called as the situation threatened to escalate and a large group of Odenkirchen fans were arrested”.