The Austrian Football Association (ÖFB) signalled its invaluable contribution to the fight against racism and intolerance at the friendly match between Austria and Finland in Klagenfurt this week.
The Austrian national team began its 2012 programme of fixtures with a presentation highlighting the 15th anniversary of the Austrian anti-discrimination campaign. As the two sides lined up before Wednesday's game, children presented a banner in front of both sets of players with the message "15 years of FairPlay. Different Colours – One Game".
On behalf of the Austria squad, captain Marc Janko sent an anti-racism message via the video scoreboard to the fans in the stadium. Both team captains donned a Unite Against Racism armband – already worn regularly by Austrian skippers at international matches.
In addition, supporters were made aware of the anti-racism campaign by a tannoy announcement calling on all fans to help nurture diversity and respect in football.
Austria head coach Marcel Koller spoke of the need for successful integration in football. "For me personally," he said, "it is very important that the ÖFB is arranging a FairPlay presentation against discrimination in football. It is important for Austria to deploy the potential of players whose parents – or even the players themselves – were not born here, but who are already integrated and perceive themselves as Austrian citizens. Football is a strong instrument for integration, but only if you show respect for others."
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