Thousands of amateur footballers, football fans and supporters of the anti- discrimination movement from across Europe, have been gathering in Northern Italy to show their solidarity for global struggles against discrimination.
A giant banner reading No To Sexism greets visitors to the Mondiali Antirazzisti in the small northern town of Castlefranco Emilia, near Modena, this weekend (7th to the 10th July).
Over 150 teams are taking part in the festival, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, as thousands more have joined to listen to bands, take part in debates and enjoy the festival atmosphere.
The event is a powerful stand against racism and sexism, using football culture as the means of carrying messages. Amongst the issues taking prominence include challenges to the policies of European governments on migrants and ethnic minorities and the position of refugees.
The Mondiali is organised by the Italian organisation Progetto Ultra with the Italian Sport for All Association, UISP, both leading members of the FARE network.
The Founder of the Mondiali, Carlo Balestri, today said, “The Mondiali stands for many things tolerance, respect and peace. It is our aim to show what can be possible when human beings come together in celebration of something they love with the aim of fighting the things that damage it.
“Football has a problem with racism and discrimination in so many places because society has a problem. We believe that we can create an alternative through education and social interaction.”