FAI launch Intercultural Plan

The plan also challenges and prevents the spread of ‘racism’ within the game and thus contributes towards a fully integrated and intercultural society.The FAI is to the forefront of Irish sport in terms of commitment to interculturalism and 12 months ago became the first National Governing Body to appoint a full-time National Co-ordinator to oversee this important sector.According to the 2006 census, around one in ten of those living in the Republic of Ireland have a nationality other than Irish, a proportion which has nearly doubled since 2002. Regrettably discrimination and ‘racism’ exists in Irish society and those within the football community have a responsibility to challenge discrimination. Thus, the plan, launched by former Ireland senior international, Paul McGrath, at City Hall Dublin, focuses on four overarching objectives:• To combat ‘racism’ in football• To promote participation among minority ethnic and multicultural communities• To develop a culture of football that is dynamic and globally competitive• To contribute to the wider process of integrationThe plan was formulated by the Football Association of Ireland in conjunction with its key stakeholders. FAI Intercultural Programme Coordinator, Des Tomlinson, worked closely with a Football Intercultural Advisory Group who drew from other organisations who have worked in the field including: Show Racism the Red Card, Sport Against Racism in Ireland, the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism and the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, which also provided significant funding through the National Action Plan against Racism.FAI Chief Executive, John Delaney said, “This is an exciting time for the FAI as we are going through growth and expansion within the organisation in order to cater for the 450,000 who participate in our game each week. Within this process we hope to grow the FAI’s Intercultural Programme, which is one of our newest programmes and links across all departments within the association.”He added, “Working towards a fully intercultural and socially inclusive society is a key challenge for all members of Irish society. The FAI is keen to play its role and in this regard we have been proactive.”Mr Delaney welcomed yesterday’s creation of a Minister for State for Integration and promised Minister Conor Lenihan the full support of the FAI.“We believe that when the Minister and the officials in his department read the FAI’s Intercultural Development Plan they will quickly recognize that football is a very powerful tool at their disposal,” said Mr Delaney.FAI Intercultural Co-ordinator, Des Tomlinson, said: “Today’s launch of the Intercultural Football Plan is an important landmark in the FAI’s efforts to promote football amongst members of minority ethnic and cultural communities within Ireland. Given that Irish society has, and continues to become, more ethnically and culturally diverse this plan also seeks to use football as a vehicle to promote a fully intercultural, and socially inclusive society at ease with its growing diversity.”Paul McGrath gave his endorsement to the initiative, saying: “Structures like these were not in place when I was playing. If I received racial abuse, I had to ignore it but now the measures have been set-up by the FAI to create the awareness within the football family for the need to embrace the new modern Ireland.”I’m delighted to be here today to witness the plan being announced. It just shows how serious the FAI is taking the matter.”Click here to listen to interview with Paul Mc Grathhttp://www.fai.ie/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2137

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