FARE Action week kicked off in Israel last Thursday afternoon when more than 100 fans of Hapoel Tel Aviv and PSV Eindhoven joined together at the Israeli club's training ground in Holon to stage anti-racist activities ahead of their Europa League encounter on Matchday 3 . Also present were young players from Hapoel's nationwide youth community and education programme, which encompasses players from all Israel's population sectors. Hapoel's chairman Doron Osidon and CEO Nir Inbar attended the event and spoke out against racism and violence.

The event was organized by New Israel Fund's (NIF) Let's Kick Racism Out of Israeli Football, a partnership of the Israel FA and NIF, with support from Hapoel Tel Aviv and Israel Police.The fans of the Dutch and Israeli teams staged a friendly game and materials were provided for the fans and youth to design anti-racism posters and banners.

As kick off approached, the scene switched to Hapoel's Bloomfield Stadium where Israeli and Dutch fans met for a pre-match drink in the club's pub. Guest of honour at the match itself was the Ambassador of the Netherlands to Israel His Excellency Caspar Veldkamp. Before kick-off there was a pre-match anti-racism event as held before all the Europa and Champions League matches on Matchday 3. The anti-racism events were widely covered by the Israeli media.

KIO Israel executive director Itzik Shanan said, "This is the sixth consecutive season that we have been a part of FARE Action Week and during that time we have seen racism in Israeli football cut to a fraction of what it was while our activities have also promoted coexistence between the country's population groups.. Last season alone our volunteers observed a 39% fall in racism. We have achieved this through educational efforts, higher awareness and new legislation outlawing racism at Israeli football matches."

Below is a short clip of the fans event:

Published 28/10/2011