Austria, Beligum, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom – In all these countries and many more, actions against homophobia in football were taken, which followed the device of the FARE Action Week: “Be Visible”.
“Gay referee!” – You often hear this call in football stadiums. Although this call is used as an abuse to referees, it’s also an abuse to homosexuals. Most people aren’t aware of this invisible discrimination. So the FARE Action Week 2010, as part of “Football for Equality”, took a stance against homophobia, which was arranged by the Austrian FARE-partner FairPlay-Vidc and the European Gay and Lesbian Sports Federation (EGLSF) from the Netherlands.
FARE Action Weeks in 42 Countries
Between October 14th and 26th, Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) received more than 200 applications from small grants and grassroot groups in 42 countries across Europe and provided financial support for 130 actions and initiatives from community groups, fans, clubs, FA’s, NGO’s, ethnic minority and youth groups. For that, campaign material like t-shirts, anti-racism captain’s armbands, stickers, flags and posters were distributed by FARE. The posters carried the official slogan of “Football for Equality - Challenging racism and homophobia”.
The FARE Action Week occured for the 11th time. It has been taking place since October 2001 as a tool to raise issues of discrimination in football, especially that of racism. It was established as a way to present a united front against discrimination through a high visibility of football matches. This was made possible by the support of the UEFA and the European Commission.
Making Homophobia Unacceptable
The organizer EGLSF called for action to make homophobia unacceptable, they encouraged organisations and individuals to ...
- Email/write to your FA and ask them what they are doing to challenge homophobia.
- Challenge any homophobic comments you hear and report any homophobic abuse at your club, in the stands or on the pitch.
- Subscribe to the EGLSF Newsletter to find out the latest news about what we are doing to tackle homophobia.
- Sign up to the Charter Against Homophobia in Football.
- Hold up an event to challenge homophobia in football – this could be a debate or an anti-homophobia tournament or even something fun like a quiz.
Many countries followed this call of EGLSF. In Germany, for example, PULS Düsseldorf, a gay and lesbian youth initiative, organised a meeting on the fight and concrete measures against homophobia in football. In Madrid, Colegas, the federation of Andalusian Lesbians, Gays, Bi- and Transsexuals, arranged a football tournament against homophobic discrimination, where local and migrant teams participated.
“Kick Racism and Discrimination out of Football”
In other countries across Europe like Serbia or Russia various actions against racism were taken. In Denmark the FC Kopenhagen fan club Rude Lions presented an anti-racist-short-film during the half-time of a league match.
In Slovenia the football club NK Carda organised the FARE Action Week for the 6th time. They arranged a football tournament around their grassroot teams, with their overall objective: “Kick racism and discrimination out of football”. Here, they focused on problems of ethnic minorities, specifically in the Roma community and migrants and how they are manifested in football. They also made a call for more girls and women in football clubs and for sensitisation on the issue of homophobia.
Teams from Top League
Involved In Austria, the FARE-partner FairPlay-Vidc organised a special campaign: “Make Prejudices Burst”. They focused on different forms of discrimination and for this they involved teams from the Austrian top league. Here, football team captains red out declarations to show homophobia the red card.
Not only in Austria, also in other countries actions were taken in the course of professional football matches. So the Action Week itself followed its own call to be visible. The Action Week got also high visibility through the European media, which gave great attention to the call of visibility.