The campaign to eliminate racism and discrimination from football will be given a high-profile platform at UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine this summer thanks to UEFA's Respect Diversity programme of activities.
The Respect Diversity programme will be implemented with the cooperation of UEFA's long-time anti-discrimination partner the FARE network and its eastern European partner organisation Never Again. It will spread the positive message of diversity through various undertakings both before and during the tournament.
One key aspect of the initiative will be the monitoring by Never Again of racist and discriminatory chanting and symbols. Such monitoring activities have been an important aspect of FARE's work at major international final rounds for several years.
For this summer's tournament, FARE will receive a small number of tickets and accreditation for each game for the express use of monitors who will implement a protocol to report incidents to UEFA. This work will sit alongside educational and fan engagement events at the championship.
"Through our monitoring programme at UEFA EURO 2012, we will have a number of monitors at each game working with fan representatives and stadium authorities to deal with issues early," FARE executive director Piara Powar told UEFA.com. "If this early intervention process does not succeed, we will be making reports to UEFA to be dealt with through their disciplinary processes. This is all part of the UEFA Respect Diversity campaign – which we hope will have a significant impact on the tournament."
The monitors will utilise their experience of fan culture and behaviour to note racist chanting, displays of far-right banners/signs and other examples of overt discriminatory actions. They will also observe fan networks in an effort to ascertain whether an incident is likely to take place at a particular game or has been planned for a game.
UEFA EURO 2012 monitoring is the latest stage in the concerted effort by UEFA, FARE and its partners to deliver the message that racism has no place in football. Because of this work, there is a much greater awareness in many countries – particularly the two EURO host countries – of the issues at stake. "We have been actively working in Poland and Ukraine to address potential problems of far-right extremism and discrimination for a number of years with the support of fans, NGOs and football authorities," said Powar. "The result is that people are now more aware of the issues and educational measures are well advanced."
Supporters at the EURO will also be able to make their contribution to monitoring activities. They will have the opportunity to make reports of discriminatory abuse and behaviour via a dedicated reporting helpline and an online reporting form. Outside the stadiums, the reporting helpline and website address will be publicised to fans and members of local ethnic minority communities through all events that FARE is involved in during the tournament, including a Streetkick tour.
FARE will also work with UEFA's other Respect partners to promote the reporting mechanisms via additional communication channels and at other activities.
Monitors will be asked to submit a short report after every match. The report will include detailed information about any racist, discriminatory, neo-nazi and far-right extremist language, banners and behaviour. This report will be communicated to UEFA and the local organising committee (LOC) via the FARE EURO 2012 coordination team.
FARE monitors will also collect evidence and watch out for discriminatory acts outside stadiums which are directly linked to the championship. The FARE EURO 2012 coordinating centre will send the reports to UEFA, to be fed into the UEFA disciplinary process and its Control and Disciplinary Body.
FARE expects to have two monitors at every EURO match, including the group games, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final. It is hoped that wherever possible there will be one monitor from each of the countries that are competing in a given match. Equally, the majority of monitors should be recruited from within the FARE network and partner organisations.
FARE is currently looking for monitors to come to UEFA EURO 2012. Details of how to become a monitor can be found on the FARE website, together with an application form, which candidates should complete and send to FARE by 2 April.
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