As has been the case every autumn for the past 11 years, events were held all over Europe in October to raise public awareness of the problems of racism, intolerance and discrimination in all its forms. These action weeks are the initiative of our partner, FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe) network. Over the years, these events have grown in size, spread throughout Europe and gained many new followers, which is very encouraging.
However, appalling incidents continue to blight European stadiums from time to time, showing that the battle is far from won against a scourge that it is virtually impossible to wipe out completely.
It would be pretentious of football to think itself capable of eradicating racism and succeeding where religions and governments have so far failed, despite their best intentions, such is the seemingly innate nature of this evil among certain individuals.
Nor is it a question of preaching: the world of football is not always virtuous enough for its leaders to feel in a position to lecture on morality.
On the other hand, football is enormously popular everywhere, in all corners of society, which gives it not only the opportunity but also the responsibility to try and help make the world a better place.
As has been said so many times before, football is, above all, a sport, and, in particular, transmits values such as team spirit, the virtues of hard work, a sense of responsibility, and respect – for the Laws of the Game, the referee, opponents, team-mates and oneself.
In this context, there is no place for discrimination of any kind in football stadiums. We will therefore continue to fight it relentlessly with all our strength, together with our partners and all those who share our belief that diversity makes us richer, not poorer.
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