Fans of Schalke against racism

Schalke fans with Raul

Schalke fans have developed their own initiative against racism and discrimination, participating in and outside the stadiums by issuing their own fanzine and taking an active part in initiatives across Europe.

The Royal Blues, apart from the rise in Bundesliga, have managed to develop a conscious movement in the stands, to contrast with those who infected with their racist attacks, a sport that is inherently anti-racist.

It all began on November 9, 1992, in the black anniversary of the anti-Jewish pogroms of 1938. Schalke fans took part in an organized mass meeting and they decided to send their own message. So they gone with a banner that wrote "Fans of Schalke against racism" and distributed a brochure with relevant content. The support they perceived was admirable.

Many people were interested, while their brochure content was published by a local sports newspaper. Immediately, they realized that something good is in the making. They continued their efforts through workshops, brochures and interviews in all media. Soon, the action was spread and realized that it was time to get formalized. 'Schalke Fan Initiative' took shape in 1993 as a nonprofit fan organization in order to continue it's anti-racism work.

So, the fans created their own form, a fanzine tailored to its purpose. The 'Schalke Unser' fanzine initially started with 2000 copies, but then evolved into a fanzine with the largest circulation in Germany. Used not only for anti-racist expression, but also to protect the football fan culture and the activists rights. At the same time, the Initiative has played a leading role in the creation of the Union anti-fascist supporters, a group of supporters of Bundesliga.

'Fan-Initiative' acquired a base in 1996 and it is worth noting that the funding helped the official club by providing authentic products, which could be sold by the club and the profits gone to the Initiative. The base became haunt many fans of the team, and started to organize concerts, festivals, theater and events from clubs across Europe, including Lech Poznan, Roda and Newcastle. The actions of Schalke fans brought them an award from German Bundestag for their "dedication to civil society."

no homophobie in football
Banner campaign against homophobia on 17/12/2011 at the Veltins-Arena

Presentations at international conferences, football exhibitions, consecutive events, street parties, conferences and individual actions compose the scene of action in the late 90s and early 2000. From 2001 and later, the Initiative participated in the production of anti-racist material for schools, and since 2005 focused on different issues, such as work with children in extracurricular activities, observation of the extreme right in Germany and participate in actions against homophobia. On the completion of 100 years since the founding of the club, the official Schalke team organized an anti-racist meeting, where 70 groups of fans were present. Moreover, this is a club with a tradition to minorities, mainly Polish, which was instrumental in founding.

Recently, Fan-Initiative completed 20 years of continuous action, being the largest anti-racist organization in football. The main targets are divided into two distinct parts. First, the fight against racism, in any form, the defending of fans rights, cheap tickets and secondly, to keep alive the football fan culture. With the club and various organizations on their side, they continue their action against discrimination, hoping that in German stadiums there will not be any incident that affects football.

You can take a look at the official website of Fan-Initiative and their fanzine at https://www.fan-ini.de/

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