This season’s FARE Action Week against Racism and Discrimination in European has been the 11th Action Week to take place, and was held between October 14 and 26 2010 in 42 countries accross the continent.

Following the Call for Action which closed mid-September FARE received more than 200 applications for small grants from grassroots groups from all corners of Europe. FARE provided financial support for more than 130 actions and initiatives and many more groups are receiving free campaign material including t-shirts, antiracism captain’s armbands, stickers, flags and posters.

This year the official poster carried the slogan ‘Football for Equality’, which is also the title of a European Union-funded project launched by FARE partners. The aim is to highlight the need to challenge not only racism but also homophobia on all levels of football. The back of the poster features a photo report about the successful 10th FARE Action Week last season, as well as an update on FARE’s restructuring process.

Michel Platini, President of UEFA, offered his support for the initiative, “Respect for Diversity is one of UEFA’s key principles,” he said. “There is no place for any form of racism or discrimination at UEFA or in European football. UEFA is firmly determined to combat this scourge in any form. I call on everyone to conduct themselves both on and off the pitch in a spirit of fair play and respect towards referees, opponents and fans.”

The Executive Director of FARE, Piara Powar, commented, “This year’s Action Weeks come against the backdrop of an increased level of rhetoric from both mainstream politicians and the far- right, challenging the value of diversity and a victimisation of groups such as the Roma. Against this background it is no wonder that football continues to be the setting for high profile incidents of racism and homophobia. By bringing together all of the European football family united in one cause we hope the FARE activities during October can be something of a counterbalance to hatred and intolerance.”

To address the issue of homophobia even more thourouhly, FARE partner the European Gay and Lesbian Sports Federation (EGLSF) have produced a special poster and have administered special action grants for LBGT groups. The final count of countries taking part has hit 42 with over 1500 events and initiatives by community groups, fans, clubs, FAs, NGO’s, ethnic minority and youth groups across the continent. Due to the sheer volume of activities, this means that the events continued also beyond the formal dates of the FARE Action week.