A keynote conference in Barcelona in February will emphasise football's social responsibility in helping to lead the fight against racism not only in the sport, but in society as a whole.
Camp Nou conference
The Unite Against Racism conference at the Camp Nou stadium is being organised by UEFA in co-operation with the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) network and the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) in conjunction with FC Barcelona.
Players and personalities
Around 200 people, including star players, football personalities, senior Spanish and European representatives of political institutions and delegates from UEFA's 52 associations, are being invited to the event, which follows on from a groundbreaking conference held at Chelsea FC's Stamford Bridge home in spring 2003.
Work continuing apace
Three years on from the successful London gathering, work is continuing apace in the fight against racism, with UEFA, FARE, national bodies and supporters’ groups leading a concerted campaign to spread the message that discrimination has no place in sport or society.
The organisers want to review the progress made since 2003 and renew their call for action, highlight positive events and examine in particular how Europe’s leading clubs and players could contribute to the anti-racism drive. The Barcelona gathering will bring together experts on the issue and focus on good practice from across the continent.
Racism – no place in society
“Racism is unquestionably one of the most abject forms of disrespect towards fellow human beings,” said UEFA President Lennart Johansson. “It has no place in our society and even less so in team sports like football, where all the members of the team are as equally important when it comes to achieving the desired result.
"UEFA has decided to do everything within its power to rid football of this scourge and appreciates the assistance of similarly minded organisations such as FARE, with which it has already been working for several years. Joining forces to strengthen efforts to counter racism is also the purpose of this second Unite Against Racism conference
"Three years after the first such event, it will serve as an opportunity to review what action has been taken in the meantime, to assess what impact that action has had, to share experiences and ideas, as well as to consider further action and other ways of reaching our declared goal. "Discrimination, be it racial or of any other sort, is not peculiar to sport, and it may therefore seem rather ambitious to want to overcome a scourge of society at large through sport. But I believe it is a fitting ambition."
A number of speeches will be given, and workshops will take place to discuss the situation in various areas including southern Europe where many countries are changing from nations of emigrants to receiving immigrants. Other workshops will look at professional clubs and at other forms of discrimination against individuals and communities.
Meridian Cup in Barcelona
Barcelona will also host the next UEFA-CAF Meridian Cup event in spring 2007. Under the football co-operation programme between the continents, a two-legged match will be played between European and African Under-18 all-star teams.
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