The Schalker Fan-Initiative, with the support of FARE, have done the impossible by uniting some of the best known clubs in North-Rhine Westphalia. The clubs have come together for the first time as part of a joint photo campaign against racism. A media conference to launch the campaign was held at the Arena AufSchalke on 2 December 2003 and attended by the following people:
- Andreas Müller (Team Manager, FC Schalke 04),
- Tom Koster (Press Officer, Fortuna Düsseldorf),
- Michael Fanizadeh (Football Against Racism in Europe) and
- Dirk Rademacher (Chairman, Schalker Fan-Initiative).
The clubs FC Schalke 04, VfL Bochum, Borussia Mönchengladbach (Bundesliga), RW Oberhausen, MSV Duisburg, LR Ahlen (2nd Division), SC Paderborn 07, Wuppertaler SV, Wattenscheid 09, Preussen Münster, Eintracht Braunschweig, KFC Uerdingen (3rd Division), Fortuna Düsseldorf (4th Division) and women’s Bundesliga sides FCR Duisburg and SC Bad Neuenahr have taken a clear stand against racism, discrimination and violence. The photos show the players holding up red cards with the words “Show Racism the Red Card” and small banners with the logo of the anti-racism education project run by the Schalker Fan-Initiative, “Dem Ball is’ egal, wer ihn tritt” [The ball doesn’t care who kicks it]. The Schalke fans are currently negotiating with other clubs in a bid to get them to take part in the campaign.
The campaign was launched as a part of the UEFA-backed European action week against racism in football organised by FARE and is based on the British “Show Racism the Red Card” campaign.
In a second step the campaign organisers intend to produce posters that the participating clubs can use in their PR activities. The Schalker Fan-Initiative are currently seeking funders to produce posters to be distributed free of charge, primarily to young football fans, at the many events organised by FARE and the “Dem Ball is' egal, wer ihn tritt” project. It is hoped that other clubs in North-Rhine Westphalia can be encouraged to join the campaign with the aim of expanding it to cover the rest of the country in the future.