2 July 2010
As the eyes of the world turn to the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup, Fifa is using the occasion to deliver a clear message against racism and any other form of discrimination – with the full backing of the remaining teams.
At all four quarter-final matches on Friday and Saturday, each team captain, watched by millions of people around the world, will read out a declaration condemning and rejecting any discrimination in football and society, and teams and match officials will pose jointly alongside a banner displaying the unequivocal message “Say no to racism” during the pre-match programme.
Fifa has organised Anti-Discrimination Days during one of its competitions every year since 2001, when a declaration against racism was signed at the Fifa extraordinary congress in Buenos Aires.
Although the rejection of discrimination applies all year round, the Fifa Anti-Discrimination Days give the football family the opportunity to join together in condemning this blight on society all around the world.
“It is part of our social responsibility to use our competitions to raise awareness of the pressing social issues of the day,” Fifa president Sepp Blatter said this week. “The players’ voices help us amplify this message and the call for solidarity, respect and fair play – the basic values of our game.”
As Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa, has said: “Sport can create hope, where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination. The 2010 Fifa World Cup has renewed the spirit of unity in South Africa and across the world for people to find their common humanity.”
Tokyo Sexwale, South Africa’s minister of human settlements and a member of Fifa’s Committee for Fair Play and Social Responsibility, said this week: “This tournament has brought the people of South Africa together to build on the legacy Nelson Mandela wanted to create for this country.
“Although this project cannot solve the problem on its own, it delivers a clear message of zero tolerance of discrimination of any kind,” Sexwale said.
Anthony Baffoe, former Ghanaian football player and the second African to play in the German Bundesliga, said: “If all parties involved in football join in condemning and acting against discrimination, there is hope for eradicating it from our sport.
“There has been tremendous progress made over the last years, but we still have a great amount of work ahead,” Baffoe said. “The Anti-Discrimination Day here at the Fifa World Cup clearly shows the world the players’ rejection of racism and their willingness to fight it.”