An anti-discrimination football exhibition prepared by the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association has been opened in the main hall of the Polish Parliament on 19 February 2014.
The opening ceremony was hosted by Deputy Speaker Wanda Nowicka, Poland’s leading campaigner against discrimination and for women’s rights.
The exhibition was brought to the Parliament on the initiative of Robert Biedron MP, the founder of Campaign Against Homophobia and a longtime ally of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association. Since autumn 2013, Robert Biedron is the General Rapporteur on LGBT rights in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
The opening ceremony was also attended by, among others, Equality Minister Agnieszka Kozlowska-Rajewicz and Artur Gorczynski MP for the Parliamentary Committee on Physical Culture, Sports and Tourism.
The exhibition will be displayed for a full week during the Parliament in session and it will be seen by hundreds of politicians, journalists and visitors. It has already travelled around the country and has been shown in numerous schools, clubs and community centres.
The exhibition is entitled ‘Let’s Kick Racism out of the Stadiums’ and it celebrates football as a force which unites people irrespective of their ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability. It showcases the multi-cultural history of Polish football and the contribution of ethnic minority players – Jewish, Russian, African and others – to the Polish game. It also illustrates the persisting problems such as antisemitism, racism, and other discriminations. Finally, the exhibition reminds of the festive atmosphere of Euro 2012 and the legacy of the ‘RESPECT Diversity – Football Unites’ campaign implemented by the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association in cooperation with UEFA and the FARE network.
‘We witness with horror the tragedy which has unfolded in the Ukraine in these days. We also think back to the good moments of the European Championships hosted by our nations’ – said Dr Rafal Pankowski of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association and Vice-Chair of the Board of the FARE Network.
The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an anti-racist educational, research and monitoring organization established in Poland in 1996. In 2009, in cooperation with UEFA and the FARE network ‘NEVER AGAIN’ set up the East Europe Monitoring Centre documenting racism and xenophobia across the region. In 2012, it implemented the ‘RESPECT Diversity – Football Unites’ social responsibility project accompanying the European Football Championships in Poland and Ukraine. In recent weeks and months, ‘NEVER AGAIN’ has conducted dozens of grass-roots anti-racism events and trainings for schools and other institutions and it has shared experiences on the ground with partners in several countries such as Russia, Greece, Germany, Norway, and Sweden.