FIFPRO to launch World Campaign against Racism

Football Legends Eusebio and John Barnes to launch FIFPro The World Professional Players Football Union drive against racism in the build up the World Cup in South Africa 2010 on the occasion of the 2006 Homeless World Cup in Cape Town.The World Professional Footballer’s organisation FIFPro (Fédération Internationale des Footballeurs Professionels) announced in Johannesburg, South Africa that it is to set up a campaign against racism in advance of World Cup 2010 in South Africa.FIFPro intends to utilise the impact of its high profile members that includes 57,500 professional footballers around the World including the current FIFPro World Player of the Year Barcelona’s Brazilian Superstar Ronaldinho.FIFPro will stage an anti-racism conference in Cape Town, South Africa on the 23 September 2006 on the occasion of the Homeless World Cup. Speaking out against racism at the conference will be Mozambique born Portuguese global icon Eusebio.Theo van Seggelen, General Secretary of FIFPro, comments: ‘Frequently our members are highlighted in the national and international media as being targets of racist abuse. While these incidents are highlighted due to the high level of media interest the sport of football enjoys, regrettably there are incidents of racism around the world that never get mentioned ranging from racist remarks and intimidation, to institutionalised racism to physical aggression and attacks.This is an issue our members feel very strongly about and want to do what they can to promote the concept of racial harmony and respect. Our members are icons to millions of football fans around the world, we are seeking to maximise that influence to carry a positive message that famous footballers hate racism and want everyone to show respect and an appreciation for people of all races, nationalities and faiths.’Football Legend Eusebio comments: ‘FIFPro’s initiative here in South Africa is to be commended. Professional players are respected around the world they are listened to. With this fame and influence comes responsibility. I am delighted that the World’s top players are coming together in this way to tell the people of the World that racism must never be tolerated.’The Head of FIFPro’s Committee Against Racism Tony Higgins, remarks: ‘In the build up to World Cup 2010 the focus is very much going to be on Africa. The progress South Africa has made in addressing discrimination is considerable. Nelson Mandela becoming President marked a massive change in South African society, a historic change for the better. In Africa as in, regrettably most other countries around the World racism is still an issue that requires to be addressed. The FIFPro Anti-Racism Conference in Cape Town will be the start of a number of FIFPro initiatives in Africa to promote racial diversity and to work against racism through utilising the influence of professional players around the world. FIFA have also indicated that they are keen to work with FIFPro to involve players as role models in combating this evil.’England, Watford, Liverpool and Newcastle legend, Jamaican born, John Barnes MBE, who faced racism many times as a player, including the occasion of his well remembered wonder goal against Brazil in 1984 when racists in among the England support who had travelled to Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium shouted racist abuse at him as he proudly represented his country, comments: ‘This is a great idea by FIFPro. Its players can greatly influence the opinions of supporters around the world. Africa should be proud of the great players it is producing that are gracing the top football leagues around the world .It is a disgrace when players such as the excellent Samuel Eto’o can’t play in Europe without experiencing vile racist abuse. It is important for players to stand up and say that they are not going to accept their team-mates being treated in this way. I am delighted to give my support to FIFPro’s excellent work in this area to send an important message not just within football but to the wider society.’The anti-racism conference is sponsored by FIFPro. It is also being part sponsored by the country of Scotland. Scotland’s First Minister Jack McConnell has staged a campaign promoting cultural diversity and standing against racism called ‘One Scotland Many Cultures’. Scotland’s First Minister Jack McConnell comments: ‘Scotland is delighted to be a sponsor of FIFPro’s initiative against racism in Africa. Scotland is a country proud of the diversity of its people and we are also proud to support the Show Racism the Red Card campaign. There is no place for racism and we are pleased to play our part in fighting racism in world football.’The conference to be held in Cape Town will take place on the occasion of the Homeless World Cup 2006. Mel Young, Co-founder & President, Homeless World Cup, said: ‘It is absolutely excellent that FIFPro has decided to hold their anti-racism conference in association with the Homeless World Cup. Discrimination in any form is not acceptable in modern society. The way to create a functional society is to include everyone, regardless of the colour of their skin. There is a close symmetry between racism and homelessness and we must eradicate both permanently. The Homeless World Cup concentrates on lifting people out of homelessness and exclusion through football. We wish FIFPro’s campaign every success. It will take away the stigma of racism from society.’Source:

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