With the campaign to eliminate racism, discrimination and intolerance from football gaining further momentum as European football unites to say No to Racism, players from around Europe tell UEFA.com what the FARE Action Weeks mean to them.
Paco Alcácer, Valencia forward
I feel great that UEFA has acted this way against racism. It is good to have campaigns like these and of course I support them.
Toby Alderweireld, Atlético defender
We are happy with UEFA's initiative regarding anti-racism. I went to school in Amsterdam where 90% of my classmates were not Dutch, so I'm used to living with people from other countries and nationalities. I'm happy there are initiatives like this and I hope there are more and that people see racism is not good.
Arda Turan, Atlético midfielder
[FARE Action Weeks] are really important because this is important to people – this is real life. I feel better that this comes from UEFA to everybody and I think the UEFA message is vital because everybody sees these games and that this is a Champions League message. The game matters and it is important to win this battle against racism.
Valon Behrami, Napoli midfielder
Football can send out a big message in this fight. We all have the same mentality: football has to be an example in the fight against racism and that's the message we can give.
Alexandru Bourceanu, Steaua midfielder
It is a good campaign because racism is a very bad thing. All people are equal, regardless of their colour. It is difficult to stamp it out completely but I think the fight is being won. As the years go by, people are becoming more tolerant. People are getting more civilised in their approach to people from different countries and attitudes are changing.
Terrence Boyd, Rapid forward
The game can help because every soccer player is a huge role model for all the kids out there and they've just got to recognise that racism has no place on or off the pitch. You just have to treat everyone with respect and the way you want to be treated by others. That is the message.
Thomas Buffel, Genk midfielder
It's disappointing that there's still too much racism about, not only in football but in society in general. Hopefully we can show that everybody's helping to do something about it. Players in our squad come from all over the place and we get along well with every nationality in the dressing room and that should serve as an example.
Fede Cartabia, Valencia midfielder
It is the type of campaign that makes me very happy. We need to fight racism and we support [the campaign].
Óscar Cardozo, Benfica forward
UEFA's anti-racism message is an excellent initiative and something that must never be forgotten, on and off the pitch. In my opinion, racism has no place in football or in life.
Diego Costa, Atlético forward
Everyone needs to stay together because the anti-racism project is very important.
Thomas Delaney, FC København player
Tonight's No To Racism activity was really good. I haven't personally experienced it as a player with my team-mates or staff. It's very useful to visualise it together with the anthem as it helped people to notice it.
Julian Draxler, Schalke midfielder
It's very important. We're in a position where we have a responsibility to take a stand. We're all behind it. It's a good idea and so we're all happy to help.
Jiří Fleišman, Liberec defender
I fully agree with such an action. Liberec has players of different nationalities in the team, but we get on well with each other and it is great that we can show it to the world. It is a pleasure to be involved in such a campaign.
Fraser Forster, Celtic goalkeeper
In football there can be no borders, no discrimination and no prejudice.
Pavel Horváth, Plzeň midfielder
We totally respect this project. It's a great idea and is important not just for the people of the Czech Republic but for people all over the world. We're right behind it and proud to be a part of it.
Benedikt Höwedes, Schalke defender
Of course we were happy to get involved. We saw the pennant that was on show during the players' presentation ahead of the game. In Kevin-Prince Boateng we have someone in our ranks who's been affected personally by racism and we're all keen to show that it has no place in football.
Přemysl Kovář, Liberec goalkeeper
We all support this campaign in our dressing room. We saw the campaign video on the screens before the game. We are all very glad that we could contribute and become part of it.
Toni Kroos, Bayern midfielder
It's very positive. There are few things which polarise people as much as football, but if we can set a good example then that's a good thing and obviously we're happy to do so.
Fernando Llorente, Juventus forward
All of these types of initiatives, and everything that can be done to fight against racism, are welcome.
Olof Mellberg, København defender
Those type of beliefs are not part of football. We all agree on this so we don't have any problems showing it on such occasions like this.
Dries Mertens, Napoli forward
I think it's good. You saw that there was a lot of respect for the players and the referee as well. I think it's very important and they have to continue with the campaign.
Kostas Mitroglou, Olympiacos forward
I lived in Germany in my early years, in a foreign country, so I have never judged anyone by race. Everyone is always equal for me, so I'm very happy to support this initiative.
Riccardo Montolivo, Milan midfielder
We have to do everything we can to eradicate racism from football. Obviously it's difficult because it's really in the culture of certain people so the road is very long. I think we must start from education in schools – a long-term approach. We must start early so that there will not be any more episodes of racism in the future.
Diego Perotti, Sevilla midfielder
[The campaign] is a very positive thing that should help to end such a nasty thing, because racism has no place on the football pitch – nor anywhere else in the world.
Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid CF defender
[Initiatives like this] are always positive. UEFA has always done a lot to emphasise the problem of racism. The words being spoken now are written in capital letters and you can be sure to count on the the full support of our squad [in relation to the issue]. In my case, as I am more involved, it's a real pleasure to be able to help to bring about more equality in the world in all aspects.
Franck Ribéry, Bayern midfielder
I'm against racism. It's important. There are still problems arising in the stands and even on the pitch.
Giorgios Samaras, Celtic forward
There is no division at Celtic.
André Schürrle, Chelsea forward
Of course it's an important issue. Obviously, we support the initiative against racism fully. We're right behind it.
Ryan Shotton, Wigan defender
It's massive. But in football they stress [the anti-racism message] every weekend, through campaigns and even independent groups trying to kick racism out. Obviously it's still here and you're going to have idiots who are going to cause trouble, but we look forward to kicking it out and UEFA are doing their part, which is great
Fernando Torres, Chelsea forward
I hope that one day there won't need to be a FARE week, because racism will have been forgotten. It's too bad that today it's still an issue. We as footballers and people in football have to show again and again that racism has no place in football or anywhere else.
Gregory van der Wiel, PSG defender
We can help a lot as many people look up to football players. We have lots of nationalities in our team and speak every language in the dressing room so our team is a very good example of people from different backgrounds working together.
Javí Varas, Sevilla goalkeeper
Footballers have the privilege of being able influence kids as well as educate the public. We are the first to set an example because in the end we are all human beings. Race, religion and colour do not matter. I wholeheartedly support the campaign; I hope this disease will be eradicated.
Carlos Vela, Real Sociedad de Fútbol forward
It is important because this is a world where we’re all equal, we don’t want these things and let's hope in football we can eliminate it and all enjoy it together – white, black, Chinese, Mexican – we're all the same, and we all have the same opportunity to to do what we like. I'd like to see us all together in harmony and all respecting one another.
Matías Vitkieviez, St Gallen midfielder
[The action] is all positive because racist people are not healthy for football, nor for life. It's very positive and I hope it works. Although it is very difficult, we must continue to fight.
Jelle Vossen, Genk forward
In our squad I think we have ten different nationalities and if you see the atmosphere in our dressing room it's really fantastic. Everyone likes to play football and if there are signs of racism nobody should just accept it – we all have to fight together against racism to kick it out of football.
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