BVB Trip Changing the Chants (Photo: Lina Nikelowski).
Dark side of cheering
The hollow sound of an empty stadium. Never there was a moment where you realized how important loyal and proud supporters are for the atmosphere during matches. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the glamourous world of football back to its roots: twenty-two players, a referee, and a ball on a green pitch. No loud cheers when a team enters the field, no roaring ‘oh’s’ and ‘ah’s’ when the ball hits the crossbar, no applause when the ball hits the back of the net. But at the same time, no fans indulging in football banter or discriminatory slurs. At least not in the stadium. One day, the football stadiums will be packed again, with all the buzz and excitement that comes with it. The discriminatory and antisemitic slurs will, at the same time, re-enter the terraces. Football needs to be prepared. Prepared to pick up their leading role in the fight against these issues. Prepared to embrace education as a way forward.
Change is coming
In the EU-funded project “Changing the Chants”, the Anne Frank House works closely together with football clubs Feyenoord Rotterdam and Borussia Dortmund and with Fare Network. The aim is to find out how exactly antisemitism has taken root in football cultures in Europe, and which approaches are effective to help to tackle this and related problems. How can football clubs take a stand and use educational means to take a leading role?
Showcasing the power of education
The Consortium released a documentary directed by Stefano Di Pietro, exploring the topic and the border-crossing cooperation in depth. Several experts and core members of the Consortium guide the viewer through the project, with a closer look into the remembrance work in the field of football, the motivation of football clubs to be part of such a transnational partnership, and the overall aims of the project. It shows how education is a powerful tool that should not be overlooked by the football clubs and associations in their efforts to ensure football is a diverse and safe place for everyone.
Follow the project
Wanting to learn more on the topic of antisemitism in professional football? Eager to see how educational means can help tackle problems of discrimination? Or just interested in what well-known football clubs do, next to playing games and winning titles? Go to the project website of Changing the Chants and watch the full documentary.
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