Despite high-profile anti-racism campaigns and widely multicultural workplace, seems that racism and discrimination still takes part in the world of sport and football in particularly. The roots of racism in sport are almost ancient and so is the problem. Unfortunately, at all levels of the game, from amateur to international, there are still incidents of racism and discrimination.
Football as the most popular and global sport leads the fight against racism, intolerance and discrimination – three negative phenomena that continue to make themselves felt within football, on and off the field. To prevent all kind of this impacts, more than a decade ago the FARE network was founded – the Football Against Racism in Europe network which aims to tackle discrimination by combining the resources of organisation throughout Europe. Be it from fans, players, clubs or other football bodies, FARE believes that such behaviour is unacceptable and unwanted by the majority of fans and players.
For the last decade the FARE network has been working closely with UEFA, FIFA and the European Commission. A little more than a month ago UEFA and FARE celebrated decent anniversary: ten years of joined collaboration. Lots of work has been done over last decade – from issuing publications to using the massive public and platform of Europe’s biggest football matches to press home a message of zero tolerance for any form of racism and discrimination, in favour of more respect for diversity.
However, recently we have been witnesses of some examples proving racism still takes the part of the game. I’m not judge or jury to say who’s guilty and who’s not, but mentioning (or underestimating) of racism and discrimination already makes me concerned. Which are the examples I’m talking about? Allegations that John Terry racially abused an opponent on the pitch have raised an issue that many thought had gone away.
Then Liverpool’s Luis Suárez, who was charged with racism by the FA after a complaint was made by Patrice Evra of Manchester United during the match between the two sides on 15 October. We’re not done yet. Dutch football legend Johan Cruyff is the latest big name caught up in a race-row controversy after it was alleged he racially abused fellow Ajax board member Edgar Davids. The “racism iceberg” was Sepp Blatter (see video below), FIFA president, who (firstly) denied there is racism on the field of play and suggested that players who are racially insulted during matches should accept it as part of on-field provocation and shake hands with their opponent at the end.
Later on – after stirring up a new controversy – Blatter has issued a public apology for his comments on racism and said sorry for making remarks which suggested that any racist abuse on the football field could be settled by a handshake at the end of the match. In the open letter Blatter made it clear: “I am committed to the fight against racism and any type of discrimination in football and in society. I have been personally leading this battle against racism in football, which FIFA has been fighting against throughout the past years through campaigns in all of our competitions such as the ‘Say no to racism’ campaign.”
Nevertheless, those examples are warning that racism is not (yet) completely exterminated from the sport venues. Football is the biggest sport in the world and belongs – like sport in general – to all of us. It should be the right of every person to play, watch and discuss freely, without fear. We want to see the “beautiful game” played without discrimination.
For the end, let’s mention our mission and commitment: Fieldoo has zero tolerance to all kind of racism and/or discrimination and is committed to enable equal possibilities to everybody and everyone to show his potential. Welcome to our open & equal world! Welcome to Fieldoo (online social community of sport professionals from around the world) – coming soon.