During the last few days, some 90 children from the Alternative Education Club took part in sports events organized by the Romanian Football Federation (RFF) in partnership with Policy Center for Roma and Minorities, within the framework of the UEFA Respect campaign.
On June 1, the two football teams from the Alternative Education Club, trained by coach Laurențiu Gheorghe, competed next to 16 other junior teams during the Respect Cup, which took place at the C.S.S. 1 Pajura (Biruința) sports complex. The 280 players aged 10 to 14 demonstrated their talent on the pitch, united under the slogan: „The Respect Cup! No Rasism! No Violence!” They wore UEFA hats bearing messages such as “Respect the Opponent!” “Respect the Environment!” and “Respect Diversity!” At the end of the tournament, the children received certificates, cups, individual awards and sports equipment.
On June 5, 70 children from Ferentari cheered for the national junior football team, who beat its opponent from Slovakia 2-0. The young supporters rejoiced for their team’s victory next to everyone else who attended the game. The presence of children from Ferentari (most of them Roma ethnics) at football games promotes respect for diversity and minorities of all kinds, but particularly for the Roma minority, which is most commonly targeted on Romanian stadiums by fans that chant racist slogans inciting to hatred and violence.
Policy Center for Roma and Minorities has been fighting racism in sports and through sports, in society at large, for a few years, with the help of the RFF and UEFA. The Romanian Football Federation will continue to reserve seats for children from Alternative Education Club at all national team games taking place at home.
The UEFA Respect campaign is implemented in collaboration with various football federations and non-governmental organizations and includes various initiatives grouped under four headings: Respect Diversity, Respect Fan Culture, Respect Inclusion and Respect Your Health. More details about the campaign are available on the UEFA website.