football community has gathered in London today for a unique conference
carrying a simple message - kick racism out of football.
from UEFA's 52 member associations, Europe's leading clubs, supporters'
organisations and anti-racist groups have converged on Stamford Bridge for a
day of discussions being held under the banner 'Unite Against Racism'.
The conference is
being organised by European football's governing body, the English Football
Association and the pan-European Football Against Racism (FARE) network,
which has been given significant support by UEFA, including financial
backing, since the network began its activities in 1999.
xenophobia has been a cancer within football for many years, and there is
widespread consensus that racist attitudes have a detrimental effect on the
game at all levels, on and off the field of play. For this reason, UEFA and
FARE have been working in close harmony for some time to orchestrate a
campaign which transmits a clear and coherent message that racists must be
driven out of stadiums and off pitches.
plan and penalties
Last autumn, the
two organisations joined forces to issue a ten-point plan of action aimed at
helping associations and clubs to take measures against players, coaches,
officials and supporters engaging in racist conduct. UEFA itself has also
reinforced the disciplinary measures that can be taken for racist conduct.
Penalties range from fines and suspensions to playing matches behind closed
doors, and even stadium bans.
agenda includes presentations by senior European football personalities,
in-depth workshops and a panel session including top players, such as Chelsea
FC's French international Marcel Desailly, who are active in the campaign
against racism. Workshops topics include 'Educating fans, stewards and
police', 'Developing policies at a national level', 'What clubs can do' and
'Tackling racism in UEFA competitions'. A draft guide to steps that should be
taken to tackle racism in European football will be published at the conference.
the conference include: Gerhard Aigner, UEFA Chief Executive; Per Omdal, UEFA
vice-president; David Dein, Arsenal FC and FA vice-chairman; David Davies,
the FA's acting CEO; Frantisek Laurinec, president of the Slovak Football
Association; Dr Alfred Sengle, vice-president of the German Football
Association; and the chairman of Chelsea FC, Ken Bates.
Among the other contributors are the national co-ordinator of FARE, Piara
Powar; Garth Crooks, former player and broadcaster; Paul Elliott, ex-player
and campaigner; Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional
Footballers' Association; plus some leading Premiership players. The
conference will be co-chaired by UEFA communications and public affairs
director Mike Lee and Lord Herman Ouseley of the UK-based organisation
campaigning against racism in football, Kick It Out.
In addition to
UEFA's 52 member associations, clubs represented include Real Madrid CF, FC
Bayern München, Liverpool FC, Leeds United AFC, S.S. Lazio, Parma AC, PSV
Eindhoven, Rangers FC and Galatasaray SK.
realises that its action against this scourge of society is only one part of
the picture, which is why we are pushing for a concerted effort on the part
of all those concerned," said Gerhard Aigner. "The European
conference on racism is a step in that direction. The first of its kind in
European football, this conference is not an end in itself but rather a means
to an end and the start of a campaign that should concern each and everyone
Football always has been, and must remain, a
game for everyone
recognises that it has a responsibility to ensure that racism has no place in
football," added Mr Aigner. "An important part of the sport's
success is that it brings together players and spectators from different
cultures. Football always has been, and must remain, a game for everyone
and a strong force for integration and co-operation."