051 - Players and clubs give support to UEFA's ‘No to Racism’ campaign at nearly 100 matches across Europe
Since 2013, UEFA has given its full support to Europe’s largest anti-discrimination campaign – the ‘Football People’ action weeks organised by UEFA’s long-standing partner, the FARE network, to counter racism and all forms of discrimination.
This year, from 8 to 22 October 2015, at 40 matches across UEFA’s prestigious club competitions and at 54 European Qualifiers, a series of activities promoting a European football free of racism, intolerance and xenophobia is being supported by players and clubs, and witnessed by millions of fans in stadiums and on television.
UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino said: "Inclusion, tolerance and acceptance of diversity are core values that UEFA promotes, using football as a channel to reach as many people as possible around the world. Racism and discrimination of any kind have no place in the game. This is the message that UEFA and its social responsibility partner, the FARE network, will convey at stadiums throughout Europe, with the support of national associations, clubs and players.
“We encourage football fans to join us in our efforts to value respect for players, officials, opponents and fellow supporters of all nationalities, religious backgrounds, sexual orientation and ethnic origins,” he added. “UEFA will continue to stand against all forms of discrimination, and the 'No to Racism' campaign is a key element of our position."
‘No to Racism’ TV spots shown on the giant screens in the stadiums and by European rights-holding broadcasters, special stadium loudspeaker announcements and print advertisements will encourage fans to join the UEFA family in its call to say ‘No to Racism’ in football. Every team will also be accompanied onto the pitch by children wearing ‘No to Racism’ T-shirts, and captains will wear a ‘No to Racism’ branded armband.
Four-time UEFA Champions League winner and UEFA Global Ambassador for Diversity and Change, Clarence Seedorf, shared his personal perspective on the overall UEFA Respect initiative, under which the FARE campaign falls: “I believe in the educational power of football. During my career, I always respected opponents, referees and teammates, embracing diversity as a catalyst for performance and success. The FARE initiative is essential as it reminds us all of the need and urge for positive change and action to take place in our sport, and our society as a whole.
FARE Executive Director Piara Powar sees the ‘Football People’ action weeks as a time of celebration: “For us, the message is a very strong one: ‘We are all football people’. And, together, we stand against discrimination, while at the same time, in a spirit of solidarity and friendship, we strive to have a better understanding of ourselves. The increasing number of organisations that take part every year shows how strong the movement has grown. We are looking forward to seeing this year’s activities inspire many more.”
In 2014, over 2,000 activities, including workshops, round-table discussions and mini-football tournaments, took place in over 50 different countries across Europe, and involved 400 grassroots groups, fans, clubs, national associations, ethnic minority groups and youth organisations.
UEFA’s commitment does not stop at the ‘Football People’ action weeks. Over 500 matches this season in the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and, at national-team level, in the European Qualifiers, will have a ‘No to Racism’ presence. Following the adoption of an anti-racism resolution by the UEFA Congress in May 2013, stricter sanctions on racist behaviour have also been imposed to eliminate racism from football. These include encouraging referees to stop, suspend or even abandon a game if racist incidents occur; the imposition of ten-match suspensions on any player or team official found guilty of racist conduct; and stadium closures if fans engage in racist behaviour.
For more information about UEFA’s ‘No to Racism’ campaign, see UEFA.org.
To learn more about the FARE ‘Football People’ action weeks’ activities, please visit farenet.org.
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