After its meeting in Nyon, Switzerland, UEFA's Executive Committee has issued a declaration condemning all types of racism.
The declaration, released on Thursday, emphasised the Executive Committee's zero tolerance approach towards any form of discrimination within European football. Fighting racism within the game, the committee said, would remain a top priority.
The statement reads: "The UEFA Executive Committee, at its meeting on 15 December 2005 in Nyon, categorically condemns all types of racism and reiterates its policy of zero tolerance towards any form of discrimination within European football. It considers tacking racism within football as a top priority; recognising that racism and discrimination have their roots in society but are often articulated through our sport.
"It reiterates that tackling racial abuse and discrimination is the responsibility of all stakeholders within the game and therefore calls upon all members of the football family to take action and contribute to European societies free of discrimination. It is committed to enhancing the use of information, education and training to raise awareness of the issue and prevent racial abuse and discrimination.
"The Executive Committee calls upon all referees, match delegates and coaches to monitor the behaviour of players and fans closely and to fulfil their obligation to punish and report any form of racism on and around the field of play and take appropriate measures within the scope of their own authority.
"It asks the national associations, leagues and clubs to be proactive by applying the UEFA ten-point plan and drawing on best practice across the continent. It appeals to all fans to condemn and report any expression of racism they encounter in any football setting. It endorses and urges support for the written declaration on tackling racism in football issued by MEPs at the European parliament on 9 December 2005.
"The Executive Committee commends the excellent work of organisations such as the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) network, fans groups and ethnic minority communities and counts on their crucial contribution to the ongoing fight against racism in football."
At the vanguard
UEFA has been at the vanguard of the campaign against racism in football in partnership with the FARE network. 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.
The Executive Committee statement concluded that "it looks forward to the second uniteagainstracism conference, to be hosted by FC Barcelona at Camp Nou on 1 February 2006 and being organised by UEFA in co-operation with FARE and the Spanish Football Federation."
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