UNESCO/FC Barcelona Anti-racism Campaign: “Put Racism Offside”

On the occasion of the 2010 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (21 March), UNESCO and FC Barcelona launched a year-long antiracism campaign under the slogan “Put Racism Offside”.

UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, and the former President of FC Barcelona, Joan Laporta i Estruch, stated in their joint message “football possesses truly extraordinary powers to unite people of all origins, filling giant stadiums and drawing vast global television audiences. On the field, too, almost no other sport can boast football’s multi-cultural credentials. (…) The injustice of racism doesn’t only undermine the spirit of football, it is a scourge on society as a whole, eroding social cohesion, spreading hatred and fear and making society less safe for all of us”.

The campaign was officially kicked off with a number of events during FC Barcelona’s match against C.A. Osasuna at the Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona (Spain) on 24 March 2010.

Throughout the year, different activities were organized. Several city members of the European Coalition of Cities against Racism (ECCAR), including Graz (Austria), Nancy and Dunkirk (France), organized events associating sports and the fight against discrimination.

In May 2010, David Villa, player of FC Barcelona, signed the first contract to contain an anti-racism clause. The inclusion of such a clause in athletes’ contracts is an initiative launched by the European Club Association, FC Barcelona and UNESCO in July 2009.

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