10 October 2013

The East European anti-racist NGO 'NEVER AGAIN' Association has entered into cooperation with the Inter-ethnic Football League in Moscow. The new partnership is expected to contribute to the struggle against racism and all types of discrimination in Russia ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

NEVER AGAIN AssociationSeveral meetings were held with leaders of the Inter-ethnic Football League both in Warsaw and in Moscow. The 'NEVER AGAIN' Association has pledged to share good practices and experiences of the Euro 2012 RESPECT Diversity - Football Unites programme which it implemented with the support of UEFA and the FARE network.

The Inter-ethnic Football League (MFL) was established in 2004 and it regularly brings together numerous minority communities living in the Moscow area. Through football, the MFL and 'NEVER AGAIN' aim to challenge prejudices and stereotypes present in society at large.

'We are happy to launch cooperation with the NEVER AGAIN Association and FARE. We want our voice against racism and discrimination to be heard loud and clear over the next years' - said Pavel Feldblyum, the head of the Inter-ethnic Football League.

The 'NEVER AGAIN' Association's  activity in Russia was recently reinforced through several visits in September and October and the scope of the meetings extended well beyond football. On 25-26 September, members of the 'NEVER AGAIN' Association presented papers at a Moscow conference on antisemitism and Holocaust commemoration hosted by the renowned Russian human rights NGO Memorial, the 'Remembrance, Responsibility, Future' Foundation and the Heinrich Boell Foundation. The conference brought together researchers and practitioners from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Poland, Hungary, Latvia, Italy, Israel, and Germany. Issues of contemporary racism, far-right movements and homophobia were also raised during the discussion. From 27 September till 2 October 'NEVER AGAIN' members held a series of meetings with Moscow-based ethnic minority and human rights organizations, including the newly established Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre, the Holocaust Foundation as well as with Russian media representatives.

Межнациональная Футбольная Лига From 6 till 13 October, 'NEVER AGAIN' takes part in another study visit to Moscow and other cities, including Sankt Petersburg. The visit is hosted by the Russian-Polish Centre for Dialogue and Understanding, which was established by the government of the Russian Federation in 2012. The 'NEVER AGAIN' Association is also a partner of the annual Russian Film Festival 'Sputnik', which will take place in Warsaw on 7-17 November. The official partners of the Festival have included, among others, the Russian and Polish Ministers of Foreign Affairs, the Russian Ambassador, and the chairman of the Polish Olympic Committee.

'Russia is a large and diverse country and the challenges are big. Just recently the fans of Zenit Sankt Petersburg burnt a Chechen flag during a home game against Terek Grozny, an indication of the widespread problems' – said Dr Rafal Pankowski, a co-founder of the 'NEVER AGAIN' Association and vice-chair of the board of the FARE network. -  'We are glad to share our experiences and to see such wide-ranging interest in cooperation on many different levels'.

The 'NEVER AGAIN' Association is an anti-racist educational and monitoring organization established in Poland in 1996. It is the FARE network lead partner in Eastern Europe.

Samples of previous 'NEVER AGAIN' Association activities in Russia:

More information:

VII Festwal Filmów Rosyjskich Sputnik nad Polską