Local and regional authorities called on to fight racism and xenophobia

Unveiled at a conference hosted by the Committee
of the Regions, the Braga declaration urges local and regional
authorities to eradicate racism in sport and to use sport to
promote multiculturalism.

Opening the conference on 'Sport as a a means to
fight racism and xenophobia', which was held on 19
May in Braga, Secretary of State Feliciano Barreiras
Duarte said that Portugal was "a new country of
immigration" and that its future depended on
"the ability of our multicultural society to
integrate immigrants", adding that EU Member States
had responsibilities in this respect. 

Both Anders Gustav, President of the Economic and
Social Committee of the Commitee of the Regions, and John
Kellock from the European observatory of racism and
xenophobia (EUMC) emphasised the role that local and
regional authorities have to play in preventing

MEP Peter Moore (ELDR, UK) stressed the need to
encourage partnerships with civil society and in
particular with sports associations while MEP Henning
Jensen (PSE, Denmark) sung the praises of a Danish
project in Brondby which brought together sponsors and
immigrant footballers from a local club.

The co-ordinator of FARE (Football against racism) in
Austria, Kurt Wachter, explained the organisation's
'fan ambassador' project in partnership with
UEFA. The idea is that volunteers from fan organisations
give information to other travelling fans to help them
deal with difficult situations that may arise.

In his speech, Pedro Velazquez from the Sports Unit at
the Commission explained how the objectives of the
European Year of Education through Sport 2004 included
promotion of values conveyed through sport, such as
solidarity, tolerance and fair play.



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