The message that racism and intolerance have no place in football will be transmitted at the semi-finals as part of the tournament's Respect Diversity programme.

The captains of the four UEFA EURO 2012 semi-finalists will speak out against racism when they address spectators tonight and tomorrow.

The message that racism has no place in football will be reinforced in Donetsk this evening, where Spain meet Portugal, and tomorrow in Warsaw, when Germany take on Italy. The action is part of the Respect Diversity programme for UEFA EURO 2012, which UEFA is running in conjunction with its partner in the anti-racism campaign for more than ten years, the FARE network, and regional partner, the Never Again Association.

The message will also be transmitted from the grandstands, with fan choreographies organised in both stadiums. The word Respect and the national team flags will appear shortly before the kick-off at the two matches.

The UEFA/FARE 'Respect Diversity – Football Unites' programme at UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine includes monitoring at matches, anti-discrimination messages at every game, a joint protocol on the reporting of incidents and a commitment to taking disciplinary sanctions. In particular, the monitors are noting racist chanting, displays of far-right banners or signs and other examples of overt discriminatory actions.

UEFA has given considerable support to the FARE organisation in recent years, and the two organisations have joined forces to stage events, issue publications and make use of the huge public and commercial platform of Europe's biggest matches to press home the fight against any form of racism and discrimination, while promoting respect for diversity.

UEFA has also been promoting the idea of Respect at UEFA EURO 2012 through a jersey-exchanging initiative, which has featured prominent football celebrities, including Clarence Seedorf, Peter Schmeichel, Pierluigi Collina, Karim Benzema, Steffi Jones and Ottmar Hitzfeld as campaign ambassadors.

By linking Respect with swapping shirts, European football's governing body seeks a connection with players and fans, encouraging everyone to exchange jerseys as a sign of respect for diversity. The campaign, aimed at players, officials, football fans and large TV audiences has been given prime visibility through a 30-second TV spot which will be broadcast in all European territories at half-time during matches, in the fan zones, as well as on giant screens at the stadiums.

Other elements of the Respect Diversity programme include a hotline for fans to report racist and discriminatory incidents, up to 2,500 public areas declared as Inclusivity Zones to provide welcoming spaces across Poland and Ukraine and a fanzine in four languages. There is also a tour of Streetkick, a mobile football game with an anti-discrimination message, which has featured supporters from participating teams playing against each other. Over 80,000 police officers and stewards in Poland and Ukraine have also received anti-discrimination training to help them identify and prevent discriminatory chants, symbols and behaviour.

The Respect project at UEFA EURO 2012 involves four main strands – UEFA's commitment to combat racism (Respect Diversity), increasing and improving access for fans with disabilities (Respect Inclusion), promoting health through physical activity (Respect Your Health), and fostering intercultural dialogue between fans and the host cities (Respect Fan Culture).

At the start of the UEFA EURO 2012 final round, UEFA President Michel Platini reiterated UEFA's zero tolerance policy towards racism in particular. He stressed that following the approval of the UEFA Executive Committee, referees have now been given the power to suspend or abandon matches in the event of racist incidents.

Published 27/06/2012