Philipp Lahm and Gianluigi Buffon, the respective captains of Germany and Italy, announced their support for UEFA's continued drive to eliminate racism and intolerance from football.
Article top media content
The captains of Germany and Italy, Philipp Lahm and Gianluigi Buffon, backed the campaign against racism by reading out messages before Thursday's UEFA EURO 2012 semi-final in Warsaw.
Lahm and Buffon's messages emphasised the work being undertaken to eliminate racism and intolerance from 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.
"I am proud to lead my country in this important match of UEFA EURO 2012," said Buffon. "My team-mates and I stand against any kind of discrimination. We are one team regardless of our religious or ethnic background. That is why we support UEFA's Respect Diversity message and we call on everyone in football to join us."
Lahm added: "The past three weeks have shown how football can bring together people who share the same passion. Nationality, religion, gender or sexual orientation have nothing to do with it. My team-mates and I, as captain of the German national team, ask you to join us in rejecting all types of discrimination and in supporting UEFA's Respect Diversity message."
The captains of Spain and Portugal, Iker Casillas and Cristiano Ronaldo, read out similar messages advocating the respect of diversity at Wednesday's first semi-final in Donetsk.