Diversity celebrated in Poland & Ukraine
The anti-racism 'NEVER AGAIN' Association has teamed up with the Football is Beautiful Foundation and numerous other partners for a joint 'Friends of Football Day' series of events taking place on 8 June to celebrate the power of football to unite across differences and promote social inclusion.
More than 300 football matches, community festivals and other grass-roots events were organized across Poland on the 'Friends of Football Day', marking the anniversary of the kick-off of the historic European Football Championships which took place in Poland and Ukraine in 2012. A footballing and social event co-organized by 'NEVER AGAIN', FARE and the African community took place in Ukrainian capital Kiev, too.
A multi-cultural team of Warsaw's residents brought together by 'NEVER AGAIN' and Project Integration participated in a high-profile event at the Polonia Warsaw stadium, under the motto 'Let's Kick Racism out of the Stadiums'. Teams representing a variety of Warsaw's cultural institutions played in the day-long tournament, accompanied by an anti-racist exhibition, family festival and dance classes. They included, among others, the Museum of Sports and Tourism, the Warsaw Uprising Museum as well as a visiting team representing cultural institutions from Moldova. The Polonia Wilno (Polonija Vilnius) team representing the Polish minority in Lithuania took part in the event, too.
The innovative 'Friends of Football Day' initiative was publicly endorsed by a number of top football figures including Robert Lewandowski, the star striker of the Polish national team and Borussia Dortmund.
The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is a regional partner of the FARE Network. 'NEVER AGAIN' is an anti-racist educational and monitoring organization established in Poland in 1996. It conducts the 'Let's Kick Racism out of the Stadiums' campaign. In 2009, in cooperation with UEFA and the FARE network ‘NEVER AGAIN’ set up the East Europe Monitoring Centre documenting and challenging racism and xenophobia in the region. In 2012, it implemented the 'RESPECT Diversity – Football Unites' social responsibility project accompanying the European Football Championships in Poland and Ukraine.