The Irish Football Association marked UEFA’s anti-racism week by staging a successful festival of football.
The event, held over the weekend, was organised in partnership with FARE and Craic NI.
The festival included Show Racism The Red Card workshops and offered primary school students the chance to enjoy value-based coaching in futsal, interactive workshops on Respect and a chance to view the new National Football Stadium at Windsor Park. And yesterday, in partnership with World United, Extern Refugee Syrian Aid and the recently established African Caribbean Squad, a mini-tournament was staged.
Andy Waterworth, the association’s outreach and volunteer officer, explained that in line with UEFA the Irish FA’s approach to social responsibility is carefully structured and designed to both create and retain long-term benefits for society through football.
He noted the core directives of the UEFA social responsibility portfolio are based on a selection of five-year strategic partnerships which strive for anti-discrimination and diversity, social integration and reconciliation, active and healthy lifestyles, implementing football for everyone as well as funding an important series of football foundations and charity programmes.
Andy explained the festival of football to mark UEFA’s anti-racism week was part of the Irish FA’s ongoing campaign to ensure schools, community associations and clubs in Northern Ireland embrace inclusion, equality and equity in sport.
He said: “The Irish FA and FARE’s commitment to tackle discrimination through football’s inclusive power is based on the principle that the game, as the most popular sport in the world, belongs to us all and can propel social cohesion.”
The Irish FA runs anti-racism workshops throughout Northern Ireland and to date this year it has delivered 50 workshops to more than 500 participants.
The association also implements Football For Peace value-based coaching to teach good values such as respect, inclusion, equality and responsibility in society and sport.
Its football development staff recently attended the Football For Peace festival in Brighton which helped to upskill coaches. As part of the festival they delivered a presentation on the Irish FA’s Football For All programme, providing examples of how football is used as the hook to tackle under-representation, physical inactivity and social exclusion.
Andy further pointed out: “The Irish FA, through its football social responsibility and wider organisational strategy, will continue to strive to make a positive impact within Northern Ireland society. We will reach beyond the game, using football as the vehicle to promote social engagement and cohesion in line with our strategic plan and our Let Them Play youth strategy.”