The largest series of anti- racism activities staged in sport across Europe will take place in less than one week. Between 13 and 25 October 2005 the European football family will stand united against racism and discrimination for the sixth successive season. The Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) network is co ordinating activities that will feature activities by fan groups, football clubs, national associations, community and migrant organisations, anti discrimination initiatives and schools. While last season anti-racism events were staged in 33 European countries, this year the number will rise to 35 European countries.
FARE is also providing financial assistance to grassroots organisations across the continent to help stage anti- racism activities taking place during the Action Week, such as the production of campaigning materials, organisation of anti-racism matches, special fan choreographies and anti-racism themed football tournaments to engage minority communities.
All Champions during the FARE Action Week
As part of UEFA’s Unite Against Racism campaign, European football's governing body will use their premier club competition, the UEFA Champions League, to make their stand against racism during the FARE Action Week.
At all 16 UEFA Champions League matches played on 18th and 19th October (matchday 3) Europe’s biggest stars will be supporting the message against racism. Each team will be accompanied onto the pitch by children wearing Unite Against Racism T-shirts, and tannoy announcements will be made before each game. Around 500,000 fans will directly witness events in the stadiums, whilst many millions more will see it via live TV coverage.
Alongside activities at professional clubs and leagues, the FARE Action Week will give fans, minority groups and grassroot football teams across the continent the opportunity to come together to channel the power of the game to continue the call for equality.
Michael Fanizadeh of the FARE coordination centre in Vienna said earlier,
“The FARE Action Week has grown from a group of concerned individuals and organisations coming together to raise awareness of racism in the game, to the largest series of activities against racism in sport.”
“Anti-racism campaigning is gathering greater momentum each season with more partnerships being made during the Action Week for ongoing campaigning throughout the season. The anti-racism message used to be confined to outside the stadiums. Now we are inside the stadiums and our voices are beginning to be heard.”
A highlight of last season's Action Week was the strong involvement of national associations, clubs and NGOs in eastern and central Europe. In England and Wales, all 92 professional football clubs took part in a concerted effort to kick racism out of football alongside 600 community events. This year for the first time activities will take place in the Ukraine and Belarus, and in Scotland all 42 professional clubs will hold anti- racism days.