Success for Anti-Racist Football Cup as massive crowds turn out for Polish Woodstock09 August 2009

“Przystanek Woodstock” is the biggest open-air festival in Europe. The 2009 (XVth) edition in Kostrzyn (near the Polish-German border) attracted a recordbreaking 450,000 spectators. FARE partner “Never Again” Association were once again a partner of the organisers – WOSP – and participated in the event for the 10th time, preparing and running one of the more prominent side attractions, the 6th Anti-Racist Football Cup of Poland.

Over 60 teams applied to take part, and 32 qualified for the tournament. Most of the heavy equipment was provided by MOSiR – Kostrzyn's City Centre of Sports and Recreation. The matches took place every day of the festival before the concerts started, on a pitch located just next to the main stage of “Woodstock”. Great exposure and timing (scheduling the games for a time when nothing was happening elsewhere) persuaded large numbers of festival-goers to become football supporters.

After three days of tough competition, the tournament came to its conclusion on Sunday afternoon. Before the grand finale, the team of “Never Again” volunteers defeated a Journalists team 3-1 in a friendly.

In the final of the tournament FC Komorowobeat Promil 2-1. The top three squads received medals and all sorts of prizes, awarded to them during a ceremony which took place on the main stage in prime time, after a concert by legendary Polish group D¿em. Teams also recieved cups, funded and presented by the Mayor of Kostrzyn, the Head of the City Council, and the leader of WOSP, Jerzy Owsiak.

“Over a hundred thousand people gathered around the main stage, shouting as one ‘Fight racism!’ and ‘Let's kick racism out of stadiums!’, that's really impressive. I believe deeply, that with the help of people such as volunteers of “Never Again”, players involved in the tournament and the rest of the festival audience, it will be possible to solve the problem of racism on Polish stadiums for good.”, said Jacek Purski of “Never Again” Association, coordinator of all its activities at Przystanek Woodstock..

Purski continued: “The 6th Anti-racist Football Cup of Poland was a huge achievement, as considering the number of teams and spectators involved, the idea of fighting against discrimination got plenty of exposure. The concept of fighting prejudice on a football pitch was met with a great deal of enthusiasm. The amount of educational and informational materials given away, media coverage and time on the main stage were all important steps in promoting the subject of anti-racism, a very important issue, especially with the Euro Championships 2012 being organized in Poland”.

The success of the tournament would have been impossible to achieve without the help of PL.2012, the coordinator and overseer of preparative undertakings for Euro 2012 in Poland, and the Council of Europe's Bureau of Information. Representatives of these organisations visited the festival site, and their impressions of the “Never Again” activities were extremely positive.

During the three festival days an information point was set up, with “Never Again” volunteers handing out leaflets, responding to questions from the crowd passing by, and promoting anti-racist ideas and actions.