On 17 June 2015, FIFA celebrated its 14th annual anti-discrimination day on the occasion of the semi-finals of the FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand. Our aim is simple: to send a strong message to millions of people that racism and discrimination have no place in football, or in society at large.
Such awareness raising has taken place during at least one of FIFA’s competitions since 2002, with a special pre-match ceremony that sees team captains read a short declaration against discrimination. The teams and match officials then pose together with a large banner reading 'SAY NO TO RACISM'.
“I was a FIFA referee for ten years and was involved in multiple tournaments where this important issue was underlined by FIFA”, said ex-FIFA World Cup final referee Howard Webb, who is now a member of FIFA’s Task Force Against Racism. “FIFA is well aware of its duty to use the platforms offered by its tournaments responsibly, and this initiative is one that hopefully helps to educate those watching and inspire a message of equality and respect."
This year, the campaign was complemented by a photo of Auckland-based volunteers holding the 'SAY NO TO RACISM' banner before the semi-final between Serbia and Mali at North Harbour Stadium.
“We wanted our volunteer workforce to help us mark this day as we are extremely proud of the fact over 50 different ethnicities are represented among them”, said Local Organising Committee CEO Dave Beeche. “New Zealand has a highly multicultural society that has embraced this tournament, bringing all the noise, colour and passion associated with world football to our country."
FIFA’s latest efforts to eradicate discrimination from football have included the presentation of a good practice guide on diversity and anti-discrimination to its 209 member associations and the establishment of an anti-discrimination monitoring system for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ preliminary competition in cooperation with Fare network.
For a full summary of recent actions in this field, please see the update that was provided to the FIFA Congress in May.