The Polish Woodstock music event was the platform for the Never Again Association, coordinator of the UEFA-backed East Europe Monitoring Centre, to get across an anti-racism message to an audience of more than 300,000 people.
The Never Again Association chose the annual Przystanek Woodstock free music festival to stage its ninth Anti-Racist Football Championship of Poland as well as to display the recently launched 'Let's kick racism out of the stadiums' exhibition.
Never Again – which directs the FARE Eastern European Development Project on behalf of UEFA's partner, the Football Against Racism in Europe network – said the football championship proved hugely popular with festival-goers who were also able to visit an exhibition on Polish football's multicultural history. Polish Woodstock, billed as the biggest open-air festival in Europe, took place in the town of Kostrzyn nad Odra near the Polish-German border, between 30 July and 1 August.
The lead initiative of the FARE Eastern European Development Project is the East Europe Monitoring Centre which monitors, researches and documents cases of racism across the region in the build-up to UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine. Never Again spokesman Jacek Purski said of the festival: "This year we paid special attention to recruiting volunteers who are willing to take part in anti-racist activities planned around EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine."
'Let's kick racism out of the stadiums', which opened last month in Warsaw, charts the participation of ethnic minorities and migrant communities in the domestic game as well as covering the problem of racism and xenophobia in Polish stadiums. It represents the latest educational campaign run by Never Again, whose East Europe Monitoring Centre work is focused on Poland, Ukraine, Slovakia and Hungary yet also reaches out as far as Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, Belarus and Moldova.
The FARE Eastern European Development Project was conceived as a three-year programme to support the preparation of the UEFA EURO 2012 tournament and anti-discriminatory activities in eastern European territories.
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