To mark FIFA's Anti-Discrimination days on 14 and 15 July, world football's governing body delivered a firm message of opposition to racism. Youth took the lead as the captains of the eight teams still left in the FIFA U-20 World Cup Canada 2007 read a declaration conceived to help banish the scourge from both football and wider society. The two teams involved in each quarter-final then posed together in front of a 'Say No to Racism' banner.
Afterwards, FIFA.com spoke to the principal protagonists of the weekend's action, the players and coaches. Full of optimism, they all expressed hope that the initiative would push back the tide of racism within the game.
Matias Cahais, Argentina captain:
"I've never been subjected to racism directly, but I'm obviously proud to take part in this FIFA initiative. Racism needs to be eradicated from football and, quite simply, from the entire planet. We the players will do what we can to help in the struggle."
Paul Gludovatz, Austria coach:
"Football can contribute to the fight against racism. In our team, we have lads of every origin and from different cultures. Racism belongs nowhere and certainly less in football than anywhere else."
Jose Sulantay, Chile coach:
"Racism is a problem that affects everyone, including those on football pitches. I believe in God and, for me, racism has no place in stadiums. It's an aberration, so I'm delighted that FIFA had the idea of this declaration."
Thomas Rongen, USA coach:
"We're a good example of unity and a philosophy based on fraternity and teamwork. The United States is a cosmopolitan country and our team reflects that. We have Haitians, Caucasians and Latinos in our side, all from different social and economic backgrounds. We live and work together in an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust. It makes me extremely proud to be a part of a squad like that."
Jesus Ramírez, Mexico coach:
"Fortunately for me, I've never come across racism in a stadium. Football can none the less help in the fight against all forms of racism, in both sport and wider life."
Ezekiel Bala, Nigeria captain:
"It's difficult to know how to combat racism. Unfortunately, it exists on football pitches and we African players experience it regularly. It's good that FIFA is trying to fight the scourge because too many of us are suffering."
Jan Simunek, Czech Republic captain:
"I support this initiative because we're all the same. Colour has absolutely no importance."
Miroslav Soukup, Czech Republic coach:
"There are no enemies in sport; just opponents. There's no hate; we take to the field to play hoping we're going to win. In no way are our opponents enemies, wherever they come from. Whether they're from Africa or Asia, it makes no difference. We're all the same."