Football Unites is taking its message to the World Cup as part of a programme of activities being organised by the FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe) network in partnership with FIFA under the banner ‘Fussball Verbindet – Football Unites’.
Following our presence in Portugal during Euro 2004, we’ve been invited back to take Streetkick, our portable inflatable 3-a-side football pitch, on a tour of some of Germany’s World Cup host cities. We’ll be setting up Streetkick on matchdays to give fans of different countries a chance to meet each other and take part in friendly football games.
The tour is due to take in Munich for the Germany v Costa Rica game on 9th June, Nurenberg for Mexico v Iran on 11th June and England v Trinidad & Tobago on 15th June, Berlin for Brazil v Croatia on 13th June, then to Cologne for Ghana v the Czech Republic on 17th June and England v Sweden on 20th June, Gelsenkirchen for Portugal v Mexico on 21st June and finally to Hanover for South Korea v Switzerland on 23rd June. Some of these are subject to change as we’re still trying to iron out some problems finding suitable venues. We’re also hoping to run some Streetkick tournaments as community events aimed at local residents in areas of the host cities with large ethnic minority populations.
Our partners in the FARE network, the German organisation Dem Ball ist Egal, are also doing a Streetkick tour covering some of the other matches.
A team of Football Unites youth workers and young people are also in Germany this week taking part in a European Fan Convention for young people at Europa Park, organised by the Council of Europe. The event is aimed at encouraging communication and understanding between young people from different countries. Our workers are running anti-racism seminars and workshops looking at social and cultural issues relating to football, and other activities include friendly football tournaments, other sporting activities and entertainment. Early reports coming to us by phone suggest that some of our young people have been making a name for themselves by singing on stage, and at least one Asian woman has been playing in the football tournament wearing a hijab and cloak.