The biggest series of single anti-racism activities in football will come through the pan-European FARE Action Week. In just one week on 17 / 18 October the UEFA Champions League will kick off the Action Week against racism and discrimination of the network Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE).
More than a thousand activities in 37 European countries will take place from 17 until 30 October, as part of the 7th FARE Action Week. European football will take a symbolic stand against racism and discrimination through activities designed to raise awareness of the issue and underline football's determination to stamp it out.
Fans and Ethnic Minorities get involved
Following a call for action 184 groups have sent their creative ideas and submitted written proposals for action. In total the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) network is able to support the vast majority of these groups with small scale grants. An amount of more than 50.000 € will be used for grassroots actions.
The range of activities has increased this year with new groups from Eastern and Central Europe, including the former Soviet Union and the Balkans, getting involved with initiatives led by campaigners, fans, clubs, national associations, ethnic minorities, youth groups and schools. For the first time also campaigners in Israel join the Action Week in order to combat racism against the Israel's Arab ethnic minority and immigrant players.
This year a greater engagement with minority groups such as the Roma in parts of Eastern Europe will be an encouraging feature of the activities. Fan participation will also increase with fan groups planning and organising activities felt to be most receptive to fellow fans in challenging racism. Furthermore actions against homophobia in the game will be launched.
Piara Powar, the director of FARE's UK partner Kick It Out, said:
“As a unique coming together of the football family – from fan groups, migrants and ethnic minorities, to the biggest clubs in the game – the FARE Action Week is a statement as to the type of sport we all want to be involved with. The importance of an inclusive and discrimination-free game that actively reaches out to all communities is our goal. With the support of UEFA and the whole European football family we know these ends are achievable.”
German football league joins anti-racism campaign
Following a successful World Cup 2006 all the key players in German football will get for the first time behind the FARE Action Week, involving not only all professional sides, but also more than a million fans in stadiums across the country, who will raise a red card against racism. This initiative by the German football league DFL together with the DFB and the FARE partner Dem Ball egal is set to be the biggest anti-racist cross club choreography in football so far.
In England and Wales, all 92 professional football clubs take part in a concerted effort to kick racism out of football, alongside about 700 community and club events.