UEFA has emphasised its "zero tolerance" stance towards discrimination at a fans' conference on homophobia in Manchester.
The first-ever international supporters' conference on homophobia brought together supporters from 28 countries to underline the need to tackle prejudice and exclusion across Europe. The conference was organised by UEFA's anti-discrimination partner FARE and the UK-based Football v Homophobia (FvH) campaign.
Earlier this year, UEFA presented its HatTrick Award for best social project to the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) for their innovative Football For Everyone campaign, which addressed the issue through educational materials and a TV spot. Other national associations are following suit with their own activities.
Patrick Gasser, UEFA senior social responsibility manager, stressed to delegates at the conference that UEFA had a clear policy of zero tolerance for all discrimination that affected football. The European body, he said, did not accept any form of prejudice or unequal treatment on the basis of identity.
UEFA is empowered to impose fines and suspensions and has already punished individuals for inappropriate comments in this respect. It was important, Gasser explained, to also pursue education work across the European football landscape.
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