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Kicking racism out of Europe

Last update - Monday, August 15, 2011, 19:36 By Metro Éireann

Kicking racism out of sport was the message promoted by the Never Again association at Polish Woodstock, Europe’s largest free music festival, which attracted 700,000 people to Kostrzyn near the Polish-German border from 4-6 August 2011.

“Through the festival, we promote tolerance, oppose racism and discrimination,” said Jerzy Owsiak, lead organiser of the Woodstock festival. “For the last 10 years, together with Never Again, we have been kicking racism out of the stadiums. One of our common aims is a racism-free Euro 2012.”
Anti-racist activities over the weekend included a soccer tournament and a special exhibition game with the Ethnoleague Stars (pictured above), a mixed multicultural team with men and women players from Nigeria, Togo, India and elsewhere who reside in Poland.
“We created a friendly and tolerant climate which is often missing at Polish league games,” said Never Again spokesperson Jacek Purski.
The anti-racist message sounded especially loud and clear when prizes for the tournament participants were handed out on the festival’s main stage before thousands..
Throughout the event Never Again volunteers talked with thousands of Woodstock attendees and distributed anti-racist educational material. The Never Again information stand also hosted several well-known musicians including Robert ‘Litza’ Friedrich, a Polish rock music legend who has been a long-standing supporter of the association’s Music Against Racism campaign.
Never Again is an anti-racist educational and monitoring organisation established in Poland in 1996. It implements the Fare Network’s ‘Respect Diversity. Football Unites’ project supported by Uefa in the lead-up to the 2012 European Championship in Poland and Ukraine.

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