Wednesday 18th October 2017: Damien Duff joined Sport Against Racism Ireland (SARI) Director Brian Kerr and the pupils of St. Kilian’s Senior National School in Tallaght for anti-discrimination training held as part of FARE Football People Action Weeks. FARE Action Weeks take place in October and are co-ordinated by SARI. The aim of the initiative is to bring together professional and amateur footballers, football fans and young people on pitches and playgrounds up and down Ireland to participate in workshops, games and training that challenge discrimination and promote the social inclusion of marginalised groups.
For the month of October, as part of the initiative, SARI is delivering free anti-discrimination football training workshops in primary schools across the country. The anti-discrimination workshops bring together pupils, on the pitch or playground to play football, develop football skills and in the process, consider and challenge concepts such as discrimination and racism as well as learn about other cultures in Irish society. The children and young people can then take the skills and learnings that have previously been applied on the pitch such as team work, commitment, fairness and co-operation and apply them off the pitch.
Speaking at this morning’s workshop in St. Kilian’s Senior National School, Tallaght, Damien Duff said “I am delighted to be here in St. Kilian’s today to see how much fun can be had while learning some incredibly important life skills. Looking around it is clear how sport is uniquely placed to unite people, to bring communities and countries together but also to teach us how to work together as a team, to treat each other with respect and fairness. There can be no room for discrimination, on the pitch, or playground or within our workplaces or communities. Therefore, it is fantastic to see the work – and play -that is taking place to make these spaces a better place. SARI’s work through sports is changing how young people can understand the world and each other and it’s great to be a part of it today.”
SARI Director and former Ireland Manager Brian Kerr said “Damien Duff remains an inspiration to people both on and off the pitch because he worked hard and played fair. We are absolutely thrilled to have him with us today to participate in the workshops and see the work that is being done. The anti-discrimination workshops are very popular because young people can see for themselves how the kindest and fairest and most straightforward thing to do is to treat people with respect. SARI is very grateful to Damien for helping us bring this important message to people.”
As part of the FARE weeks SARI has organised Airtricity League clubs to host matches against teams from refugee communities, Direct Provision Centres and other at-risk communities. The organisation also supports organisations across the country who are hosting events to mark and celebrate FARE Action Weeks. Last weekend SARI supported a mini-tournament in Carlow hosted by two LGBT teams, Dublin Devils and Cork Rebels, alongside the Rohingya refugee community who have been resident in Carlow since 2009.
SARI coaches will continue to travel nationwide across October delivering football training sessions incorporating anti-discrimination workshops to children aged 11-14 until the month of December. Schools and groups can log onto www.sari.ie to find out how they can participate.
Brian Kerr continued “This is the biggest nationwide initiative to tackle discrimination and we are seeing phenomenal work being put in by clubs, schools and communities who are organizing and participating in activities that are intended to connect and challenge discrimination. There is still an opportunity to be part of it so I would encourage schools and clubs to get in touch and get involved.”