Balkan and Central Europe
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Get informed about our activities in the countries of the Western Balkans, respectively in cooperation with our local partners and download the activity report 2013.
FairPlay's engagement in the Western Balkan region
With the foundation of the pan-European Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) network in Vienna in February 1999 issues of racism, nationalism and far-right extremism in Central and Eastern Europe became a focus of FARE. As the overall coordinator of the FARE network (from 1999 to 2010) the initiative FairPlay. Different Colours. One Game at VIDC (Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation) established viable links with professional football clubs in Serbia and other countries of former Yugoslavia.
Therefore FairPlay-VIDC in partnership with the Balkan Alpe Adria Project (BAAP) has started to act in the role of a main coordinator in the fight against football-related nationalism, racism and discrimination in the Western Balkan region.
In 2007 FairPlay kicked-off a FARE programme supported by Nikes Stand Up, Speak Up fund aimed at “fighting nationalism and develop youth exchanges in the Balkans” together with BAAP. Given the successful and rich sport culture in the time before the civil war in Yugoslavia, it became obvious that sport and in particular football is offering strong potentials to promote understanding, tolerance, solidarity and social inclusion on national and international level.
Thus, with the support of the King Baudouin Foundation which is in charge of the Stand up, Speak up funds, EPAS (Council of Europe), UEFA, the football associations/federations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, FYR of Macedonia and Montenegro and in cooperation with the Balkan Alpe Adria Project (BAAP) annual projects were designed and realised in the region.
The intention of FairPlay-VIDC is to make use of football as a sustainable platform to raise awareness among young people from different Western Balkan countries and to engage with football governing bodies (FAs and professional clubs). Together with fans, clubs and associations we use the integrative power of football in the fight against racism, nationalism and homophobia in the stadiums. One of our main objectives is the equal participation of migrants and ethnic minorities on all levels of sport.
More information about FairPlay-VIDC: www.fairplay.or.at
Challenges in the region
Due to the conflict-ridden history, the countries of the Western Balkans are facing challenges in terms of overcoming nationalism and discrimination as well as including minorities in social structures. Today’s generations often find themselves confronted with prejudices that continue to thrive years after the region’s conflicts. Young people in the region do not suffer anymore from the direct impacts of the war. But today they are confronted with prejudices and stereotypes of the previous generation as the effects of the violence left their marks, extreme poverty and bad life conditions caused by the post-war circumstances.
As a consequence of this complex socio-political situation, adverse conditions can be found among all social levels, in particular Bosnian-Herzegovinian cities that are often divided along ethnic boundaries.
Nationalism and the discrimination and exclusion of ethnic minorities can be identified as one of the main socio-political issues the Western Balkan region. To address issues of football-related nationalism and discrimination, FairPlay-VIDC together with BAAP exploit with the unique inclusive potential of football using it as a medium to communicate an integrating message among young people, minorities and the wider football community in the region.
Stronger Together - FairPlay activities in the Balkans
Since 2006 FairPlay-VIDC in cooperation with the Balkan Alpe Adria Project - BAAP has realised projects in order to overcome nationalism, ethnocentrism and racism in the Balkans being backed by the King Baudoin Foundation, UEFA and local football associations.
Since 2014 the Croatian football association is a new partner of FairPlay-VIDC and BAAP.
Following the successful initiation of the Football Unites the Alps, Adriatic and the Balkans campaign from BAAP, FairPlay-VIDC, the European network FARE, the King Baudouin Foundation and various regional and international stakeholders, activities such as the Balkaniade, the Football Unites workshops, anti-racism activities with national football associations and clubs, the FARE action weeks and the international FairPlay youth tournament Vienna meets Balkan were set to continue until June 2016.
Thereby the main focus is to be put on projects for youth by transporting anti-racism and anti-nationalism messages in the field of sports.
The idea is to further deepen the international dialogue with the countries of the Western Balkans and strenghten network structures in the region in order to develop a constructive intercultural exhange combined with educational elements.
Our aim is
to promote a broad commitment to integration and against nationalism and racism across the Balkans at youth football – in the stadiums, in coaching and sport education – and also in the media
networking and exchange of good practice in the Balkans by partners in youth football
to raise awareness of the need for pro-active measures against racims and nationalism in football stadiums across the Balkans
to promote cooperation between the various sport institutions across the countries of the Balkans