The captains of Spain and Portugal, Iker Casillas and Cristiano Ronaldo, gave their support and that of their teams to the campaign against racism and intolerance in football, as well as to efforts to ensure that diversity is respected within the game.
The two stars read out messages ahead of the semi-final between their countries at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk last night, reinforcing the view that racism can have no place in football. The action is part of the Respect Diversity programme for UEFA EURO 2012, which UEFA is running in conjunction with its partner in the anti-racism campaign for more than ten years, the FARE network, and regional partner, the Never Again Association.
"We owe our success to our team spirit and the diversity of our backgrounds," said Casillas. "We may be from different regions and different backgrounds but on the pitch we stand together - united as a team. That is why we are against all forms of discrimination and are proud to support UEFA's Respect Diversity message."
"Our country brings together people from all kinds of different backgrounds all united thanks to UEFA EURO 2012," Ronaldo told the stadium. "Football can bring people together like no other sport no matter their religious, social or ethnic background. That is why we all stand together as one, both on and off the pitch and support UEFA's Respect Diversity message."
The captains of Germany and Italy will read out their own messages at tonight's second semi-final at the National Stadium Warsaw.
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