A football festival against nationalism, chauvinism and intolerance in the Balkans – backed by UEFA and several of its member associations – will take place from 7 to 8 August in Kotor, Montenegro.
Six youth teams (Under-14 or 15) from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia will meet and compete with the two hosts from Montenegro, namely Kokelj Kotor and Kom Podgorica. Two of the participating teams are ethnically mixed – from Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina and a joint team consisting of Romani and Macedonian youths.
Intercultural workshops and discussion groups involving the youngsters and their trainers will run alongside the sports event and will offer an opportunity for a detailed debate on racism and nationalism. A bulletin containing messages from well-known players against racism and nationalism in the Balkans will be distributed during the tournament.
UEFA is helping to fund the event as part of its anti-racism activities in conjunction with member national associations. The associations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia have contributed to helping the festival take place.
Patron of the event, which is organised by the Balkan Alpe Adria Project, is the Montenegrin international footballer Branko Boškovic. "I am very happy to support the tournament," he said. "With the power and strength of football we have an instrument to fight racism, discrimination and nationalism. Football is a sport for everyone: origin, skin colour, religion, boy or girl, young or old – that just doesn't count.
"I want to emphasise that it is not important who will win the tournament – it is important that all the participants contribute to the joint goal of fighting discrimination and nationalism, and take home the spirit of intercultural respect and understanding."
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