"LEGIA" AND "WIDZEW" KICK RACISM OUT OF STADIUMS

Two leading football clubs in Poland, Legia Warsaw and Widzew Lodz, joined the celebration of the International Day Against Racism, 21 March. On Saturday, 22 March 2008, the players of both these teams entered the field wearing t-shirts with a sign 'Let's kick racism out of stadiums'.

After the game the t-shirts signed by the players were sold to fans on an internet auction. The money raised will be turned over to 'NEVER AGAIN' Association. The association is a founder and a member of the international organization Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE). The association fights against racism and intolerance in various spheres of life.

'We are happy that such meritorious clubs as Legia and Widzew got involved in actions against racism in the stadiums. Let's hope that thanks to such initiatives Polish football will soon be associated only with sporting emotions', says Marcin Kornak, chairman of the association and editor-in-chief of the 'NEVER AGAIN' magazine.

'We support all initiatives which shape sensitivity of the fans towards otherness and cultural differences', says Leszek Miklas, president of KP Legia.

'Luckily the times when bananas flew from the tribunes are now past', says Martins Ekwueme, Legia's midfielder, who has played in Poland fields for 9 years. 'When I was playing in Jeziorak Ilawa, there was one game when people threw bananas at me and my black colleagues. It was, however, long time ago. I have never experienced such cruelty'.

Takesure Chinyama, Legia's best scorer adds: 'Unfortunately, during the game the fans from opposite teams make strange noises; it escalates when I have the ball. I try not to care. I concentrate on scoring a goal for Legia and shut their mouths with a good game'.

'I just don't understand such behaviour', Brazilian-born player Edson is amazed. 'Brazil is a country where cultures from all over the world mix together. On the field we don't differentiate between different skin colours. Brazil opens her hands to all, just like Christ who watches over Rio'.

The International Day Against Racism took place on 21 March to commemorate the events which took place on 21 March 1960 in Sharperville in the Republic of South Africa. On that day 69 people taking part in a peaceful demonstration against apartheid laws were killed by the police. UN declared 21 March International Day of Against Racial Discrimination. In Europe all the actions during the Week Against Racism are coordinated by UNITED for Intercultural Action. The 'NEVER AGAIN' Association is a member of this international network.

The 'NEVER AGAIN' Association is an independent anti-fascist organization. Since 1996 it has monitored racist incidents and published the only anti-racism magazine in Poland called 'NEVER AGAIN'.

Widzew Łódź - Legia Warszawa, 22.03.2008