European Football’s governing body, UEFA, is putting its full weight behind FARE’s Action Week against racism and discrimination. Whilst some organisations are content with kind words of support, UEFA’s effort is slightly more physical. The UEFA staff team are to play a football match in support of the Action Week.
Staff, picked from UEFA’s Nyon headquarters in Switzerland, will play a local side at the Stade de Colovray on the 17 October. In a spirit of unity, the visiting team will consist of locally based players originating from countries as diverse as Serbia & Montenegro, Senegal, Morrocco, Algeria, Cameroon and Russia. The fixture, which is now an eagerly anticipated annual event, is testament to UEFA’s desire to rid the game of racism at all levels.
Meanwhile, in somewhat higher leagues, UEFA has organised a string of activities for its Champions League games where all 32 clubs will take part in the week of action. All matches on the 18 and 19 October will feature action against racism. The teams will enter the pitch accompanied by children wearing “Unite Against Racism” T-Shirts, whilst Tannoy announcements and features in the matchday programme will highlight the campaign. Around 500,000 fans will directly witness events in the stadiums, whilst many millions more will see it via live TV coverage.
UEFA’s Chief Executive, Lars-Christer Olsson, said of Action Week,
“The Week of Action presents a great opportunity to take a stand against racism and pay tribute to the diversity of the game. UEFA is wholeheartedly behind the Week of Action and as part of our own 'Unite Against Racism' campaign we will be using our highest profile club competition to underline this.”
“We are under no illusion that the Week of Action will end racism in football. However, it will help to raise awareness of the issue and can be the catalyst for kick starting anti-racism initiatives at clubs across the continent and at the grassroots level of the game.”