Footballers From FC Dynamo Say No To Racism

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Prague Morning

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In the Černý Most area of Prague, there's a group of people who've started an initiative for tolerance and harmony. The club recently published a statement on Facebook expressing that Dynamo players feel that the media and politicians are intolerant against migrants and other ethnicities. 

Marek Bělor is the founder of football club Dynamo. This was founded in 2016 to provide local youth space to do sports and steer clear of drugs and alcohol. According to Bělor, there are no sports teams or open playgrounds in Černý Most that would encourage children and teenagers to be active.

The team is formed of people from a diverse mix of cultures and races. Dynamo members include Czechs, Roma, Slovaks, Afghans, Vietnamese and Mexicans. It reflects the situation in the housing estate, where historically there has been a large Roma population and today they are joined by a range of foreigners - mostly Ukrainians, Vietnamese or Slovaks.

Černý Most is considered a problematic district where there is prevalent gang culture, but Marek Bělor says racism hasn't always been a problem in the area. He remarked, "I've been living here for 20 years and have never experienced intolerance towards any ethnicity. I know a lot of Czechs who are best friends with the Roma, they go together for a beer, for trips, go for a holiday."

It can happen that there is a game in another area and the rivals react when they hear Afghans from this team speak their mother tongue. Bělor added, "We all play the same game. I do not understand why someone hates someone based on a different belief or skin color.” 

The increase in hatred in society and the victory of the parties with a xenophobic view in the last election were the main reasons for the public protest by Dynamo players. Marek Bělor believes that politics and sport cannot be completely separated just because sport depends on government subsidies. He maintains that sports teams should protest and express themselves when racism or unfair action is taking place, as itis often seen abroad. He writes, "For example, American football players will kneel during the national anthem before playing to express their feelings about racism in America. Before one match, we spontaneously decided to do it too.”

It is sad for him to see that similar statements have not been issued, by professional teams. Team players admit they would be thrilled if professional players joined them in this kind of demonstration. However, the photo of the public statement drew some amount of derogatory comments too. Despite the mixed reactions, the team unanimously wants a clear end to hate and racism. They want to continuously prove that people of different nationalities and beliefs can work together without difficulty.

Author: Samia Ahmed

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