ANTI-RACIST ACTIVITIES AT 300,000 ROCK FESTIVAL IN POLAND

32 teams from all over Poland took part in a football tournament "Let's Kick Racism Out Of The Stadiums" organized by the anti-racist 'NEVER AGAIN' Association at this year's "Przystanek Woodstock" rock festival.

This year's festival was among the largest music events of the world, with more than 300,000 participants and it featured, among others, the re-formed British band Killing Joke. It took place in Zary, Poland on 1-2 August 2003.

Thanks to 'NEVER AGAIN', the anti-racist message was strongly present throughout the event. It was repeatedly promoted from the main stage of the festival, organized by the rock'n'roll charity WOSP.

In addition to the tournament, a special friendly match was played between a team of the local authorities of Zary and the multi-ethnic "Przystanek Woodstock" team composed of, among others, members of the multi-national Hare Krishna representation. The event was held to demonstrate resistance against racism, xenophobia and violence present at numerous football stadiums in Poland.

The 'NEVER AGAIN' Association was assisted by the local government of Zary, the Ecological-Cultural Association "Gaia" and Dospel-Katowice Football Club which provided prizes and football shirts for the winners. The Polish Football Association provided gifts for the participants of the tournament, too.

The 'NEVER AGAIN' Association ran anti-fascist information booths in the festival area which proved popular throughout the event. Among others, signatures were collected under a petition, initiated the previous year, calling the Polish FA to take action against racism in stadiums.

On 3 August a joint publication of 'NEVER AGAIN' and the Polish FA was presented at a Warsaw conference which gathered representatives of all the 1st and 2nd league clubs in Poland. The joint publication is designed to help football officials identify and remove racist and neofascist symbols appearing in stadiums. A "NEVER AGAIN" representative briefed the officials about the issue of racism in stadiums. "We are happy to see the Polish FA involved in the struggle against racism" - said Marcin Kornak, chairman of the 'NEVER AGAIN' Association. - "It is the beginning of the implementation of anti-racist policies urged by FIFA and UEFA."

The 'NEVER AGAIN' Association is an independent anti-racist organization. It has monitored racist incidents since 1996 and it publishes "NEVER AGAIN", the only anti-racist magazine in Poland. It runs the "Let's Kick Racism Out Of The Stadiums" campaign aimed at football fans and it is a core member of the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) network.

Stowarzyszenie "NIGDY WIECEJ" - "NEVER AGAIN" Association PO Box 6
03-700 Warszawa 4
Poland