From 15 – 27 October stakeholders across European football will make a joint stand for equality and against racism and discrimination.
From modest beginnings spanning nine countries in 2001, the 10th edition of the FARE Action Week will see 40 European countries getting involved in a united effort to rid the game of racism and end exclusion. The FARE Action Week will feature a wide range of activities in and outside stadiums by supporters, players, football clubs, associations, ethnic minority organisations and youth groups.
As has become customary in October, European top leagues including the UEFA Champions League – and for the first time the UEFA Europa League - will be joined by hundreds of grass-roots initiatives from all corners of the continent to take a symbolic stand against racism and discrimination through activities designed to raise awareness of the issue, and underline football's determination to stamp it out.
Broad involvement of the grass-roots
Following a call for action in September, 220 groups have sent their creative ideas and submitted proposals for action. With the financial backing of UEFA FARE is able to provide small scale grants to more than 130 groups, worth 50,000 euros in total.
FARE has also produced a host of campaign materials distributed across Europe, including a new Action Week poster. The poster has been designed by the English FARE group Football Unites, Racism Divides (FURD) and carries the slogan “All Colours Are Beautiful”.
The European-wide Action Week is coordinated by a group of eight experienced FARE organisations based in Austria, England, Italy, France, Germany, Slovakia, Spain and Poland.
Kurt Wachter, project coordinator from the FARE co-ordination office at FairPlay-vidc in Vienna said:
“Over the last ten seasons the FARE Action Week has become an integral part of Europe’s football calendar and we have seen a shift from neglecting the existence of intolerance and xenophobia to a more inclusive, integrative football culture. This is illustrated by the increasing numbers of groups and countries involved.
But there is no reason to be complacent. Overt abuse of minority players and the display of far-right symbols inside stadiums have not vanished altogether, whilst problems associated with homophobia and sexism and exclusion on an institutional level are hardly addressed.”