Last night’s friendly match between Italy and Romania was marred by some racist incidents which were reported widely by international media, including the BBC. Unfortunately, the media reports missed an important step forward in the fight against racism in the stadiums: the game opened with players of both teams together holding a huge banner which read Love football no violence no racism. The initiative involved both Italian and Romanian football federations.
Three days earlier, the same banner was displayed at a football tournament for children in Bucharest, Romania. Some 250 children (23 teams), aged 9 – 11, many from disadvantaged families and of Roma origins, played in this event organised by Policy Center for Roma and Minorities together with the Romanian Football Federation. This was the 9th tournament against violence and discrimination organised in Romania, and was part of the “REACT! Make Europe an equal place for Roma” campaign. The initiative Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) was a partner in organising this tournament.
The Romanian National Televison covered this event, to see the material please visit our media gallery, here
Daniel Prodan, Director of International Relations for the Romanian Football Federation, said “this unfortunate incident during a friendly match between Italy and Romania demonstrates once again that constant efforts are needed to combat racism and violence in the stadiums. The Romanian Football Federation is taking both racism and violence on stadiums very seriously and we will continue to invest all our efforts to curb this phenomenon.”
“It is clear that football governing bodies are on the right path and taking a leading role when it comes to sanctioning and fighting both racism and violence. Sports, and football in particular, is an excellent tool to promote social dialogue and inclusion, but we need much stronger involvement of the political class in tackling racism and violence before we will see a major change. If governments would copy what UEFA and some national football federations are doing to sanction these phenomena, such a change will come much faster than most of us expect.”, declared Valeriu Nicolae, President of Policy Center for Roma and Minorities.