Football against racism at the 2006 FIFA World Cup alliance between FIFA, LOC and FARE
When the 2006 FIFA World Cup kicks off today in Munich, the slogan of the event, "A time to make friends", will dominate the game on the pitch as well as off it.
At each of the 64 games, a banner covering the entire centre circle will be displayed from the stadium's opening until the end of the official pre-match protocol, bearing the tournament slogan "A time to make friends" combined with the anti-racism message "Say no to racism". In addition, anti-racism video spots will be aired at all FIFA World Cup stadiums. All TV rights holders have received five-second mini-spots at no cost for integration in their programmes related to the event. FIFA will also dedicate all quarter-finals on 30 June and 1 July to a special activity on the pitch to give the participating teams the chance to raise their voices against this blight on society in a message to be aired around the globe.
Camaraderie, friendship, celebration and passion for the beautiful game should epitomise the 18th FIFA World Cup in Germany. Recent unfortunate incidents of racism have emphasised the need for concrete action to unequivocally tackle these shameful displays of racism in football. The FIFA World Cup, with more than 30 billion accumulated spectators worldwide, is the ideal platform to send a clear rejection of any form of discrimination and to contribute to preventing racist incidents during the tournament. This year, the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) network, FIFA and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) have joined forces in a unique initiative called "Football unites" to contribute to a positive atmosphere during the 2006 FIFA World Cup, aimed at people of all origins, religions, nationalities and skin colour. This alliance was presented today at the FIFA/LOC daily media briefing at the Olympiastadion in Berlin.
For the first time, various activities will also take place during this summer's football festival far beyond the 12 stadiums. "FIFA places great importance on respecting ethnic backgrounds. As the most popular sport, football has the biggest chance in the battle against racism, making it clear to the general public that skin colour has no impact whatsoever on our everyday routine, our lives, and our sport. FIFA is totally committed to taking steps to eradicate pernicious trends in society and football. We are convinced that our alliance with FARE and the LOC will be a further keystone in our fight against these shameful activities," said FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter. "The partnership between FARE, FIFA and the LOC is breaking new ground. We are vigilant against potential racist incidents, but we are confident that the measures taken by the German authorities and the LOC are appropriate," explained Piara Powar, the director of UK FARE partner Kick It Out.
"Anyone who wants to welcome guests as friends has the obligation and responsibility to ensure their safe and pleasant stay. Hospitality, tolerance and mutual respect must have the highest priority and should not be simply empty promises. A hospitable atmosphere is the best environment for peaceful matches. With these fan embassies, we have established a central meeting point," said LOC senior vice-president Horst R. Schmidt. For the first time in the history of the FIFA World Cup, "fan embassies" have been set up in all twelve host cities under the umbrella of the LOC in cooperation with the German Fan Project Co-ordination Centre (KOS) with the aim of creating opportunities for fans from around the world to meet young Germans and migrants living in Germany, thereby raising awareness of the challenges they face and fostering the social integration of migrants and ethnic minorities. In association with the LOC and KOS, stewards and volunteers have been trained in how to identify and handle racism, right-wing extremism and discrimination. In addition, FARE will produce and distribute an anti-racism fanzine, in English and German, containing statements by players as well as information on racism in football.
Fans can find useful information on the dedicated internet fan guide section on the official website http://fifaworldcup.yahoo.com/06/en/d/fanguide2006/index.html. Furthermore, fan guides will be available at all embassies in English and German to provide tips about trainings, teams and other activities for fans. Ahead of the FIFA World Cup matches, Streetkick games will be organized by FARE to accompany the intercultural programme at the 12 "fan fests" in the host cities.