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The football world unites from 3 to 7 September to celebrate fair play and respect – two values crucial to the game's well-being at all levels – and UEFA will be promoting the FIFA Fair Play Days in Europe via its Respect campaign.
The FIFA Fair Play Days will be marked at official European matches throughout the period as UEFA gives its full backing to the initiative. Fair play and respect play a central role in sport, being applicable to all sports activities, particularly those involving children.
FIFA president Joseph S Blatter said: "Children need strong values to grow up with, and football, being a team sport, makes them realise how essential discipline, respect, team spirit and fair play are for the game and for life. FIFA's fair play campaign involves much more than simply promoting fair play on the pitch during a competition."
The Fair Play Days were introduced in 1997 and have been the occasion for activities across the globe, ranging from grassroots football to the elite game, through community-based projects. Many national football associations have organised events in support of the programme.
"Respect is a key principle of football," said UEFA president Michel Platini. "Respect for the game, the players, the match officials, opponents and supporters. UEFA will not tolerate racism or any other forms of discrimination, either on the pitch, in the stands or in the cities. The colour of the skin is invisible under the jersey."
UEFA's own Respect campaign features prominently at UEFA competitions and events, having been launched ahead of the UEFA EURO 2008 tournament in Austria and Switzerland. The Respect initiative is linked to programmes aimed at combating violence, racism, xenophobia and homophobia as well as encouraging fan support, intercultural dialogue, the environment and humanitarian relief.
The message is respect vis-a-vis opponents, other teams' supporters and match officials in particular, and towards the game itself. "Football is a breeding ground for fraternity and diversity," Mr Platini continued. "We are all equal with a ball at our feet, and UEFA is continuing to promote civic commitments and is helping in combating social ills and defending major humanitarian causes. Let's get together and show respect."
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