Europe’s top football stars stood united against racism recently, as their clubs lined up for UEFA Champions League matches. UEFA made use of its “Unite Against Racism” campaign during its premier club competition, to make a stand against racism during the FARE Action Week.
At all 16 Matchday 3 games played on 18 and 19 October 2005, Europe's biggest stars backed the message against racism. Each team was accompanied on to the pitch by children wearing “Unite Against Racism” T-shirts, and tannoy announcements were made before each game. Fans in the stadiums and millions of TV viewers heard the message that racism has no place in the game.
Europe’s biggest anti-racism campaign
FARE's annual Action Week against Racism and Discrimination has grown over the last five seasons into European football's biggest anti-racism campaign. Alongside activities at professional clubs and leagues, the Action Week is giving fans, minority groups and grass-root football teams across the continent the opportunity to come together.
UEFA's communications and public affairs director William Gaillard, commented upon the impact the Action Week has,
“The partnership with FARE is one of our privileged partnerships. Football cannot solve European racism or discrimination problems alone – but it can ring the alarm bell. Because football is the No1 sport, what the players say and what UEFA does has an influence on young people – the people we have to reach for the future to stop racism.”
At all levels of the game
In somewhat lower leagues, staff from UEFA’s Nyon headquarters showed that they too were prepared to muck-in for Action Week. In a show of support, they played their now legendary annual match against an ethnically diverse team made up from the local population. From Champions Leagues, to amateur leagues, racism has no place in the beautiful game.