As a young multi-cultural Dutch team made headlines earlier this summer, winning the UEFA European U-17's championships by not conceding a single goal until the final against Germany, another story came to the fore during the championships in Serbia.
The Serbian FA (FAS) led a campaign called Stronger Together through the tournament putting a focus on discrimination and nationalism. The campaign organized by FARE partners Balkan Alpe Adria Project (BAAP) and FairPlay-VIDC (Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation) included workshops in Serbian schools and with fan- clubs and a highly successful stadium event at the final on Sunday 15th May.
Cities across Serbia took part in the project, which involved a number of activities and promotional events at matches. Schools were invited to create banners which were displayed as the teams lined up before the final round matches, with prizes awarded for the best efforts.
Serbian FA responsibility for leadership
The General Secretary of FAS Zoran Lakovic set out the reasons for the initiative, The fight against hooliganism, racism, chauvinism and all forms of violence and discrimination in football stadiums presents a priority for all of us in the Football Association of Serbia.
Both by its tradition and perspective, Serbia deserves a place at the top of the European football, and our Association, as the largest sport organization in the Balkans, has a responsibility to exercise leadership in the promotion and achievements of positive football trends.
“Stronger Together” is not just a slogan of the campaign. It is our goal and our mission for a better and more beautiful football in Serbia!
Michel Platini support
UEFA President Michel Platini offered his support for the activities saying, “The 2011 UEFA European Under-17 Championship taking place in Serbia offers this country the perfect opportunity to say no to racism, nationalism, sexism and violence in football.
I take this opportunity through the joint campaign Stronger Together to underline the importance of respect for diversity and tolerance in football. Working together with the Football Association of Serbia, we can motivate players and fans alike to respect our game and promote the positive values of football for all.”
Football Unites the Alps, Adriatic and the Balkans
The campaign at the UEFA U 17 championship is part of the Football Unites the Alps, Adriatic and the Balkans campaign 2010-2012 from the BAAP and VIDC in cooperation with FARE, the King Baudouin Foundation, the Football Associations in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia and various regional and international stakeholders.
Information and Contact:
Alexander Rakowitz: Alex.BAAP@gmx.at
Selma Kustura: BAAP@vidc.org
Download the official Stronger Together leaflet.