Yaya Toure has announced his support for the Fare Network’s Football Peopleaction weeks after claiming “nothing has been really taken care of” when it comes to ending racism and discrimination in football.
Toure was speaking in a short film produced to support the action weeks, which run until October 19 and will see more than 100,000 people across 50 countries participate in events aimed at tackling discrimination through football.
Over the past three seasons, Fare’s monitoring systems – which cover Europe and a further seven countries beyond its borders – have recorded 825 major incidents of discrimination at football stadiums, including racism, homophobia and extreme nationalism. The scale of the problem continues to concern Toure, who has himself been racially abused and is determined to see more done.
“I have been abused by racism and because those things happened to me, I try to be involved and I want to help those people who don’t have a voice to control this situation,” he said.
“What we are looking to do is to try and stop those idiotic people doing that. We have to be focused and have fair play everywhere.”
Although Toure retired from international football with Ivory Coast last year, he sees the 2018 World Cup in Russia as a watershed moment for FIFA in its ongoing battle to curb discrimination.
“Everyone is talking about Russia maybe being a little bit difficult. But I hope that Russia surprises everybody by trying to make something very nice,” said Toure, who would be happy to help world football’s governing body on the issue, if ever required.
“I don’t want to be involved in only talking. I want to see action and people be real. These things are very important for the future of football, and we have to see change. People have been talking but nothing has been really taken care of.”
Toure supports the Football People action weeks each year, with more than 2000 events – ranging from football tournaments and festivals, to film screenings, exhibitions and educational workshops – funded by grants from Fare.
Piara Powar, Executive Director for Fare, said: “It has never been more important to confront these issues, whether it’s racism, homophobia or gender inequality, or the rights of refugees and under-represented minorities. Football can play a vital role in breaking down barriers and helping to heal divisions in society.”
It’s not too late for your organisation to join this year’s Football People action weeks. Click here to find out more.