In October, the 21st action weeks for diversity in football will take place across Europe, coordinated by the FARE network. In Austria, football clubs, fans and initiatives will once again set strong signals from 8 to 25 October.
In 2020, the main theme is #Solidarity and how sport can contribute to overcoming social and economic inequalities. The activities in Austria are organised and coordinated by the fairplay initiative in cooperation with the Austrian Football Association (ÖFB) and the Austrian Football League (ÖFBL).
Clubs, fans, players, coaches, officials and officials are called upon to stand up for solidarity and against exclusion in the stadium and in society. Crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic raise awareness of each other, but also exacerbate social and economic differences. Football can bridge these differences, which is particularly important at present given the precarious situation of many people, but also of many sports clubs.
Christian Ebenbauer, CEO of the Austrian Bundesliga:
"The social importance of football is particularly evident in times of crisis. The rapid resumption of play in spring enabled us to offer people a bit of normality in turbulent times. But having significance also means taking responsibility - which is why we have shared our findings, concepts and measures with the entire football family, other sports and the public. In this respect, we, the Austrian Football Bundesliga, together with our clubs, have taken a pioneering role on the way back to normality."
"Especially in these difficult times, as Austrian Football Association it is important for us to send out signals and show that solidarity is not just a slogan but a lived practice. Together with the Austrian Football Bundesliga, we are committed to ensuring that nobody is left by the wayside during this time. Whether it is a matter of fans or the livelihood of the clubs at grassroots level, only rapid help is effective help. In this way, the ÖFB wants to signal to the clubs, which form the backbone of our sport, that football Austria will stick together in difficult times",
said ÖFB President Dr. Leo Windtner.
Every club can set an example of solidarity during the action weeks: through stadium actions on match day, such as our 'Solidarity Beverage Campaign', where money is collected for a social initiative, cooperation with social institutions or putting the joint banner online. Each and every individual can also do something, such as making a selfie with the action card "Solidarity - Football Without Exclusion". The professional clubs of the Austrian Bundesliga and the 2nd league as well as the Women Bundesliga and the 2nd Women Bundesliga each dedicate one match of the 5th and 6th round to the topic of solidarity.
Football for social cohesion
Many amateur clubs throughout Austria are also involved. "Social cooperation is lived in the numerous grassroots clubs and in the neighbourhood, this is where people come together and social cohesion can be created," says Nikola Staritz of the fairplay initiative. "Without solidarity and empathy in everyday life, the door is wide open to hate and exclusion."
And football should be a place without exclusion, across all borders: social, economic, national, ethnic and gender. This is shown by the annual commitment of the many, many clubs during the fairplay action weeks.
The fairplay action weeks are possible by the support of the City of Vienna, the Austrian Ministry of Sport and the European Commission (Erasmus+).