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Annual Anti-Racism World Cup about to get underway

This year's Anti-Racism World Cup takes place at the Donegal Celtic club this weekend, with debates, music and a seven-a-side football tournament among the festivities

TEAMS from Germany, Scotland, Italy, Palestine, Cuba, the Basque Country and all over Ireland will go head-to-head in a bid to win the coveted Anti-Racism World Cup in Belfast this Saturday.

Over the last nine years, the seven-a-side soccer tournament has become a regular feature of the Belfast summer calendar. The festival at the Donegal Celtic stadium is fast becoming the biggest grassroots anti-racism event in Ireland, with around 2,000 people visiting and participating in a variety of activities over the tournament weekend.

A spokesperson for the Anti-Racism World Cup said: “This really is a tale of two cities. Belfast gets steeped in negative publicity because a small minority in the community offer only hatred, fear and shamelessly scapegoat the weak and the vulnerable for political gain. But that’s not representative of the majority of us.”

Aimed at tackling racism, the event will also have walks, talks, discussions and live music - as well as a family fun day at Donegal Celtic Football Club.

Kicking off on Friday, August 7, the Anti-Racism World Cup festival begins with an international welcome session in the Donegal Celtic Social Club, with visitors from around the world taking part in debate and discussion about fascism and anti-fascism in Ireland in the 1930s. A live ska band and DJ follow the debate.

The football begins on Saturday morning at 10am as the whistle blows for the football tournament with the Anti-Racism World Cup being presented to the winners on the day.

This year, organisers have had to draw the line at 24 teams registering for the competition. One of the teams is a group of young Palestinian footballers from a refugee camp in the West Bank, who have travelled all the way from Bethlehem to Belfast to tell their story.

Glasgow Celtic’s Green Brigade will host a debate on the Scottish government’s Offensive Behaviour at Football Act, targeting political fans at Celtic Park on Saturday at 7pm sharp. Afterwards, folk rock band The Wakes will return for their second performance at Donegal Celtic.

The Anti-Racism World Cup will also team up with local Gaelic Athletic Club Sarsfield's in a GAA Against Racism finale event on Sunday. The second annual Poc Fada and Cic Fada, followed by a challenge game between the local Cliftonville women's team and Birmingham's Eastern Cowgirls will take place on the day.

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