Top names support Euro 2004 anti-racism project08 June 2004

Top name players, administrators and campaigners will underline the urgency of tackling racism in football across Europe this weekend, as the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) network launch a series of activities at Euro 2004.

Players from Champions League winners FC Porto will join Paul Elliott (formerly of Celtic, Chelsea and Bari); legendary Ghanaian forward, Abedi Pele; German International, Oliver Bierhoff; English footballing pioneer Brendon Batson; and, players from FC Boavista at an afternoon reception this Saturday (June 12th) in Porto.

The reception will launch a series of anti- racism initiatives in Portugal under the slogan ‘Football Unites’. The activities will include:

  • The launch of a hotline to allow fans to report racism at the tournament (00 351 966 027 283)
  • Anti- racist statements by all 16 captains of teams taking part in Euro 2004,
  • A tour of footballing venues by a mobile football game, ‘Streetkick’, to engage football fans, Portuguese youngsters and ethnic minority groups,
  • A series of fans embassies for the supporters of eight countries (including England, Germany, Holland and Italy),
  • A multilingual anti- racist fanzine.

The players will join Lars Christen-Olsson Chief Executive of UEFA, Pat Cox, president of the European Parliament and Gilberto Parca Madaíl, President of the Portuguese Football Federation and Chairman of the EURO 2004, amongst a host of other senior administrators and representatives of European FA’s, fan groups and campaigners against racism.

Piara Powar, Director of Kick It Out – the UK based campaign and a leading member of the FARE network – commented,
“Porto will become the epicentre of the sporting world on the 12 of June as Europe relishes the beauty of the game. However, against this background is the growing menace of racism and violent nationalism, which in many countries spills over into football.”

“We believe that with the continued support of UEFA, the EC and all agencies within the footballing family the foundations are in place to take forwards challenges to racism on a national and international level.”

Pavel Nedved, Captain of the Czech Republic and European Player of the Year 2003, offered his support to the FARE network ahead of the launch,
“As the football player I know that the result of the match does not depend on skin colour or religion, but only on your performance on the pitch. This is a fact that should remain forever.”

“There is no place for racism in my mind. That is the reason for my support of Football Against Racism in Europe.”

For further information and accreditation for this event please contact Leon Mann on ++ 44 207 684 4884