‘LET’S KICK RACISM OUT OF THE STADIUMS’ SUCCESS AT EUROPE’S BIGGEST FESTIVAL
The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association promoted the anti-racist message at Polish Woodstock – Europe’s biggest non-commercial open-air music festival which attracted about 700,000 participants to Kostrzyn near the Polish-German border on 4-6 September 2011. The anti-racist activities included a football tournament and a special show game with the Ethnoleague Stars, a mixed multi-cultural team involving minorities, with players (men and women) who are Polish residents coming from Nigeria, Togo, India, Italy and France.
-‘Through the festival, we promote tolerance, oppose racism and discrimination. For the last ten years, together with the NEVER AGAIN Association, we have been kicking racism out of the stadiums. One of our common aims is a racism-free EURO 2012’ – said Jerzy Owsiak, the lead organizer of Polish Woodstock, one of the most popular public figures in Poland.
The match of the Ethnoleague Stars took place at the final of the annual 3-days long festival tournament, this year co-organized by the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association and Carlsberg company. The Ethnoleague team defeated their opponents 9:6.
-‘The whole tournament had many anti-racist elements. The slogan Let’s Kick Racism out of the Stadiums was present on flags and banners. We created a friendly and tolerant climate which is often missing at Polish league games’ – said Jacek Purski, a ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association spokesman.
The anti-racist message sounded especially loud and clear when prizes for the tournament participants were handed on the main stage during the last evening concert of the festival. The original Henri Delaunay Trophy, which is awarded to the winners of the European Football Championships, was displayed at the festival, too.
For three days, ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association volunteers talked with thousands of Woodstock participants and distributed anti-racist educational material. The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ info-stand hosted several well-known musicians including Robert ‘Litza’ Friedrich, a Polish rock music legend, who has been a long-standing supporter of the Music Against Racism campaign run by the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association.
The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association info stand was run jointly with the UEFA EURO 2012 info-point prepared by Euro 2012 Poland LOC.
The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an anti-racist educational and monitoring organization established in Poland in 1996. It implements the FARE Network ‘Respect Diversity. Football Unites’ Project supported by UEFA in the lead up to the 2012 European Championship in Poland and Ukraine.