The UEFA Euro 2012 semi-final matches in Donetsk and Warsaw will see the captains of the national teams of Spain, Portugal, Germany and Italy reaffirm their stance against racism as the semi-final matches tonight (27 June) and tomorrow (28 June) see the culmination of the Respect Diversity – Football Unites campaign at Euro 2012.
Football supporters will be a part of the campaign, by joining the fan choreographies organised in the stands at both stadiums and which will see the word RESPECT and the national team flags appear just minutes before kick-off.
The Respect Diversity project is implemented by the FARE network, co-ordinated by the Never Again Association. The initiative, launched at the start of the tournament, has seen two FARE international observers present at every match, up to 2,500 public areas declared as Inclusivity Zones to provide welcoming spaces across Poland and Ukraine, a fanzine in four languages and a tour of Streetkick, a mobile football game with an anti-discrimination message.
Over 80,000 police officers and stewards in Poland and Ukraine have also received anti-discrimination training to help them identify and prevent discriminatory chants, symbols and behaviour.
Rafal Pankowski of the Never Again Association, and co-ordinator of the FARE programme at EURO 2012 said: ‘As EURO 2012, the biggest sporting event ever held in Eastern and Central Europe, reaches its latter stages we are pleased that the message of anti- discrimination will be centre stage through the Respect Diversity activities. We hope that the whole of Europe can join us in sharing our vision of a society that is free from prejudice and enriched by all of our diversities.’
‘We also believe that one of the legacies from hosting the EURO here will be a greater understanding of the gravity of intolerance and a renewed commitment, in words and action, to build inclusive progressive societies.’
The Respect project at UEFA EURO 2012 involves four main strands – UEFA’s commitment to combat racism (Respect Diversity), increasing and improving access for fans with disabilities (Respect Inclusion), promoting health through physical activity (Respect Your Health), and fostering intercultural dialogue between fans and the host cities (Respect Fan Culture).