Football Unites, Racism Divides

The international conference “Together Against Racism”, promoted by the UEFA and the organization FARE (“Football Against Racism in Europe”) took place on 2 February in Barcelona.

We already wrote about the integration football match, which took place 14 October 2005 in the settlement of Leskolovo in Vsevolozhskiy district and which was promoted by “Memorial” with support of FARE within the scope of the international week of fight against racism. Then local schoolchildren in mixed Roman-Russian teams played in front of a big fan crowd. And I as representative of “Memorial” was invited to this international conference in Barcelona.

UEFA and FARE promoted such a conference already for the second time (the first took place 2003 in Chelsea). Due to the fact that many footballers (dark-skinned, Arabs, Romas) become aware of their discrimination – they have to hear out insults connected with their race or nationality from aggressive fans. Not infrequently real fascists appear at the stadiums, scream out slogans and even arrange fights. The UEFA signed an own codex, which proclaims that there is no seat for racism and xenophobia in the football stadiums. The attendees of the conference – football players, officials of the clubs, human rights activists, and deputies – strongly supported the idea of anti-racism and reported about how this idea is propagandized in their countries. They organize integration matches and purposefully work with fans. And periodically special actions take place: For instance, trailers are published, on which the players – stars of European football – appeal for tolerance and humanism.

Football is a popular game, watched by millions of people. One can and one has to use it as a powerful and efficient mean to educate people to kindness, mutual understanding, and friendly relationships to people of other races and nationalities. As the chief executive of the UEFA Lars-Krister Olsson said, “Let’s get rid of racism not only in the football stadiums, but everywhere.”

Эта запись так же доступна на: Russian