UEFA EURO 2012 semi-finals dedicated to RESPECT

National teams unite against racism

26 June 2012

The UEFA EURO 2012 semi-final matches in Donetsk and Warsaw will see the captains of the national teams of Spain, Portugal, Germany and Italy reaffirm their stance against racism and encourage intercultural dialogue between fans. The semi-final matches which take place on 27 and 28 June in the Donbass Arena and the National Stadium Warsaw respectively will be the culmination of UEFA’s RESPECT campaign for UEFA EURO 2012.

Football supporters will also become an integral part of the RESPECT campaign, by joining the fan choreographies organised in the stands at both stadiums and which will see the word RESPECT and the national team flags appear just minutes before kick-off.

The RESPECT Diversity project is implemented by UEFA’s long-time partner the FARE network and its local counterpart in Poland/Ukraine, Never Again. The initiative, launched at the start of the tournament, has seen two FARE international monitors present at every match and whose job is to identify and report any racist behaviour or illicit banners. Thanks to a relationship with UEFA security officials they are also able to take action during games should that be necessary.

Hundreds of inclusivity zones have also been created at this tournament. These are public buildings and spaces that are designated as being open and accessible to all. Over 80,000 police officers and stewards in Poland and Ukraine have received anti-discrimination training to help them identify and prevent discriminatory chants, symbols and behaviour.

Rafal Pankowski of the Never Again Association, and co-ordinator of the FARE programme at EURO 2012 said: ‘As EURO 2012, the biggest sporting event ever held in Eastern and Central Europe, reaches its latter stages we are pleased that the message of anti-discrimination will be centre stage through the Respect Diversity activities. We hope that the whole of Europe can join us in sharing our vision of a society that is free from prejudice and enriched by all of our diversities.’

‘We also believe that one of the legacies from hosting the EURO here will be a greater understanding of the gravity of intolerance and a renewed commitment, in words and action, to build inclusive progressive societies.’