MINELRES: Football Against Racism in Europe pushes the campaign in Eastern Europe

MINELRES moderator minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Fri Aug 13 19:45:03 2004

Original sender: Natalia Sineaeva <natalisineaeva@yahoo.com> 

FARE pushes the campaign in Eastern Europe

Problems of racism, and anti-Semitism in particular, are a part of every
day life in Eastern Europe to an extent no longer encountered in Western
states. The racist abuse directed at England's players in Bratislava was
a high-profile case that brought the issue to the attention of the
international football community. However, the problem of widespread
racism in Eastern European football stadiums had existed long before and
there had been warnings about the scale of the phenomenon, not least
through the FARE network. 

Under those difficult circumstances there is a room for improving the
situation. FARE is in a unique position to influence the situation in
Eastern Europe being able to use good experiences from Western European
countries as well as local anti-racist expertise and contacts in the
region. The large number of events in the framework of the 2003 FARE
Action Week is an encouraging sign. 

The 'Let's Kick Racism Out Of The Stadiums' campaign of the Polish FARE
member 'Never Again' Association promotes anti-racism at football
grounds and aims to challenge racist attitudes prevalent amongst Polish
fans. Activities include regular monitoring and reporting of incidences,
production of two anti-racist magazines ('Stadion' and 'Never Again'
magazine) and the organising of an annual anti-racist football
tournament. The 'Never Again' Association has succeeded at raising the
awareness of the Polish FA and club officials to the issue of racist
symbols displayed in stadiums. An anti-racist manual has been produced
jointly by 'Never Again' and the Polish FA which provides guidance for
club officials and game observers. In November 2003 'Never Again' gave a
presentation at a high-profile conference on stadium security organized
by the Polish FA. The activity of 'Never Again' has been endorsed by,
among others, Emanuel Olisadebe, Poland's first black international. 

It is hoped that anti-racist work in Polish football can be sustained
and new successful projects can be inspired and supported in other
Central and Eastern European countries, too. 

Planned Action 
Anti-racist initiatives in Eastern Europe are very much needed but there
is often little chance for them to obtain local funding. In October 2003
it was decided that the funds received by the FARE network from the MTV
Free Your Mind Award would be used to aid anti-racist football projects
in this region. 

The 'Never Again' Association has been mandated to use the funds both
for the enhancement of its own activities in Poland and for the
expansion of the FARE network and promotion of anti-racism in and
through football in the region. 'Never Again' is well qualified for the
task: it has highly competent activists and it has accumulated years of
experience working at both the national and the international level. It
has also experienced being active in a hostile environment, coming a
long way from the initial refusal to acknowledge the problem of racism
by authorities and media alike, to the gradual acceptance of the need
for anti-racist measures. 'Never Again' has a good overview of existing
anti-racist initiatives in the region, not least through its close
cooperation with UNITED for Intercultural Action, the largest
pan-European anti-racist network (Among others, 'Never Again' hosted the
large-scale UNITED network conference in Poland in November 2003, with
about 70 anti-racist groups from all over Europe being represented, many
of them from Central and Eastern European states). It is hoped UNITED
will assist in the implementation of this project. 

The 'Never Again' Association will serve as a contact point for the
development of anti-racist football initiatives in Eastern Europe with a
special emphasis on Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, Ukraine,
Russia, and Moldova. In each of these countries a study visit is to be
conducted with the aim to present and share the experiences of 'Never
Again' and FARE in combating racism in and through football, to
encourage the development of local football-related anti-racist
initiatives and to identify possible partners for long-term cooperation
with FARE. 

Throughout the duration of the project, the 'Never Again' Association
will provide assistance to organizations in the region in terms of
guidance, advice, inspiration, and material to be used in local

The existing activities in Poland will also be strengthened with an
office and paid staff. In addition, an Eastern European Project Pool
will be established for the support of local initiatives (up to 400
Euro). It will operate on the model of the already existing FARE Small
Scale Project Pool, using the same criteria for the support of projects,
taking into consideration the specific local situations where
appropriate. Two deadlines for small scale project proposals will be
announced (1 September 2004 and 1 January 2005). 'Never Again' will
advise and evaluate each project proposal, whilst the 'Fair Play' in
Vienna will administer the funds. 

It is expected the project will result in a growing number of
initiatives from Central and Eastern Europe taking part in FARE
activities and in raising awareness of the problem of racism in football
and in society in general.


Project coordinators
Rafal Pankowski,
Marcin Kornak

Jacek Purski 


Project duration
21 March 2004
21 March 2005 

Results and conclusions for future work are going to be presented at the
next FARE network conference in Bratislava in April 2005. 

Stowarzyszenie ‘NIGDY WIECEJ’ – ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association

PO Box 6
PL-03-700 Warszawa 4

Email: rafalpan@zigzag.pl