The seventh anti-racism action week organised by Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) across Europe from 17 to 30 October was a resounding success. The campaign, which seeks to eliminate racism and intolerance from the game, consisted of more than 1,000 individual events in 37 different European countries. A key component was raising public awareness for the problem areas of discrimination and racism.
The annual FARE anti-racism week has been rated as one of the most important anti-racism initiatives in European football since its introduction in the 2000-01 season. The 2006 campaign once again drew support from fans, players, clubs, associations, minority organisations, anti-discrimination groups, youth centres, schools and the world of sports medicine.
The programme opened with an event featuring the teams contesting the third matchday UEFA Champions League group stage as the 32 team captains all wore armbands bearing the "Unite against Racism" slogan. Public address announcements also called on followers of the game to stand up against all forms of discrimination.
"We greatly value this opportunity to make a comprehensive contribution towards eliminating racism from our sport. We won't beat racism in a single week, but I hope these activities persuade more members of the football family to take up the fight against racism," said UEFA President and FIFA vice-president Lennart Johansson.
FIFA has been involved in the fight against racism and discrimination for many years. One of the initiatives introduced by the governing body was the appointment of FIFA anti-racism ambassadors, including Thierry Henry, Bobby Charlton, Sven-Goran Eriksson, Mia Hamm, Jurgen Klinsmann, Pele, Abedi Pele, Michel Platini and Birgit Prinz, who all take an active role in the fight against this scourge on society, and use every available opportunity to speak clearly against racism on behalf of the world of football during interviews and at events and meetings.