The tenth Mondiali Anti-Razzisti, (Anti-racist World Cup) kicked off yesterday as the small northern Italian town of Montecchio came to terms with the arrival of thousands of amateur footballers from across Europe.
The arrivals include a vast array of players, friends and hangers on of varying talents, nationalities and ethnicities. Perhaps the most surprising contestants this year are a team who have travelled from the US, calling themselves the Texas Anti-Border Patrol.
All have gathered to make a public stand against racism and celebrate the melting pot of new European cultures and ethnicities.
The entertainment highlights of the first day included Bionic Man Sounds from Aux En Provence and Italian reggae- rock favourites Spasulati.
The Bionic Sounds received a rapturous welcome for their dancehall and hip-hop mix in the heart of the country against which they lost another Mondiali just a few days ago.
Later, at 3pm on 13 july 2006, the sounds of football will fall silent as the ‘Football:Pause’ takes over to make room for workshops and cultural activities that underline the overall theme. Participants will join debates, demonstrations of ethnic dance and performances.
The evening will feature concerts by Irie Revoltes and Mau Mau.
Daniela Conti, one of the organisers from FARE partners Progetto Ultra said,
“Our campsites are already overflowing in anticipation of what will be one of the most vibrant Mondiali’s ever. There is a sense this year that the time has come for our ideas to be heard and a positive vision of the future to be heeded over the discrimination and fear.”