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22/03/2015 Leave a Comment

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association brought together creme de la creme of Polish sports journalists as well as Members of Parliament, former sports champions and representatives of key institutions to participate in an awards ceremony and an informed discussion on sports and discrimination on the eve of the UN Anti-Racism Day.

The ‘Stop racism in sports’ competition for professional print, radio and television journalists covering issues of racism and discrimination was held under the auspices of Elzbieta Radziszewska MP, Deputy Speaker of the Polish Parliament (Sejm) and former Minister of Equality. The competition was co-organized by the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association, the Parliamentary Committee on Sports and Tourism, the Polish Olympic Committee, the Civic Rights Commissioner, and the European Commission office in Warsaw.

The high-level awards ceremony took place in the Parliament’s main media room with the participation of a large number of officials and the media community. Dr Rafal Pankowski, a representative of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association, spoke at the ceremony and stressed the contribution of the late Marcin Kornak who had initiated the ground-breaking ‘Let’s Kick Racism Out of the Stadiums’ campaign back in 1996. It was the first campaign against racism in sport in Central and Eastern Europe and it has resulted in a significant rise in social awareness. As emphasized by the Polish Press Agency report on the event, the awards ceremony was held on the first anniversary of the passing away of Marcin Kornak.

Deputy Speaker Elzbieta Radziszewska said: ‘I am truly grateful to the NEVER AGAIN Association for your priceless commitment and tireless efforts in the fight against racism and discrimination over so many years.’

Other speakers, who delivered powerful condemnations of racism and intolerance and pledged their support to the anti-discrimination cause, included the former volleyball champion Malgorzata Niemczyk and the legendary 1970s football goalkeeper Jan Tomaszewski (who had been criticized by ‘NEVER AGAIN’ for insensitive comments in the past). The discussion with the participation of media representatives continued for more than two hours in the format of an informal roundtable debate chaired by Mrs Radziszewska. The participants vowed to restore the positive multi-cultural atmosphere of the Euro 2012 ‘RESPECT Diversity’ campaign ahead of the UEFA Europe League final to be held in Warsaw in May 2015, in the run up to the 2017 UEFA European Under-21 Championship in Poland as well as the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia.

Other activities co-organized by the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association during the 2015 European-wide Action Week Against Racism included a ‘Music Against Racism’ rap concert in Pila, an anti-racism info point during the ‘Glasses of Equality’ gala in Warsaw, and the ‘Challenge racism and promote interculturalism’ debate organized with the Warsaw African community on 21 March.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an anti-racist educational and monitoring organization established in Poland in 1996. In cooperation with UEFA and FARE, it implemented the UEFA Euro 2012 ‘Respect Diversity – Football Unites’ programme.

UNITED for Intercultural Action is the European network against nationalism, racism, fascism and in support of migrants and refugees, comprised of 560 organizations from 46 European countries. UNITED for Intercultural Action coordinates activities during the European-wide Action Week Against Racism on 14-22 March 2015, around the annual UN International Anti-Racism Day on 21 March.

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