22nd October 2015
Pupils from two North Lanarkshire schools are coming together to show how football can unite people across the globe as part of a European wide campaign to tackle discrimination.
More than 80 pupils from Holy Family and Mossend Primary Schools took part in a special sporting event at the Ravenscraig Sports Centre today as part of a fortnight of events aimed at highlighting the positive power of sport as part of FARE’s ‘Football People’ fortnight which seeks to challenge discrimination and celebrate the contribution we all make to society.
FARE has more than 150 members across 35 European countries. Through the annual ‘Football People’ fortnight of action more than 1500 activities take place, making it the largest initiative against discrimination in football worldwide. Fare works across all levels of the game to advance social inclusion of marginalised and disenfranchised groups and to engage policy makers, key players and governing bodies in the anti-discrimination movement.
Scotland’s leading anti-sectarianism group Nil by Mouth hosted the event. Over the last three years the charity has worked with pupils from both schools to help them better understand cultures, religions and beliefs different to their own. Pupils mixed into teams and completed a series of team challenges to win ‘Fairtrade Footballs’ to donate to children in Zambia through the ‘Africa on the Ball’ scheme which aims to provide children in the developing world with access to sport. The balls were donated by fleet media firm Agripa Solutions which earlier this year worked with the charity and the schools on the ‘Bin the Bigotry’ campaign across North Lanarkshire.
Nil by Mouth Campaign Director Dave Scott said:
‘Football has always been synonymous with Lanarkshire and some of the greatest players and mangers in history have hailed from this area. This event has seen children from different cultural and religious traditions coming to together to work as a team and win footballs for children in some of the poorest parts of the planet. We are all very proud of them and its fantastic that teachers, parents and local business have also came along today to get behind this effort.
We all have our different teams and opinions, but we’re all united by this love of the game, and its eccentricities. Sometimes it’s easy to forget the joy, and forget that football isn’t always the problem – it can be part of the solution. By taking part in this event pupils are joining with thousands of people across Europe who are using Fare’s programme to prove football can build bridges between communities, continents and cultures.
We have seen this year through our Kiss Bigotry Goodbye campaign that football fans and sport in general can be a force for good and these young people do not see difference a something be feared, but celebrated. Today they showed how by working together we can build bridges higher than walls.
For more information on the Football People Campaign visit: www.farenet.org/campaigns/football-people-action-weeks