Gaps identified in EU sport and multiculturalism report

A recently published study on sport and multiculturalism has
been criticised for focussing attention on recent immigrants and
not national minorities.

“A big flaw in the report is that it focuses attention on recent
immigrants and not national minorities,” says James Riordan, an
honorary professor of sports studies at Stirling

One key point he makes is that the attitude of recent
Muslim immigrants towards ‘women and sport’ does not appear to have
been touched upon. He also points out the problem of Muslims and
certain sports (eg football and rugby) where there is a distinct
lack of Asians at all levels.

“If we were talking about multiculturalism in the direct sense,
and not just in regard to recent immigrants ant their
‘assimilation’ into society, we would have a completely different
picture,” says professor Riordan.

He adds that another omission in the report is the
representation of non-white people in administration, citing the
example of the English Football Association, which has no black
representatives on its board. Riordan does also say that it is a
good report but suggests that it may be overly
‘academic’. In his view it does not go anywhere near far enough
although he suspects this is due to its remit.

“Sport has changed the way whole generations of people view
ethnic minorities across Europe in a positive way.  As long as
sport deals with issues in the way it has in the past then, as this
study states, it will remain an invaluable tool in the fight
against racism,” commented MEP Chris Heaton-Harris.

One of the core recommendations of the study on sport and
multiculturalism is that the Commission use sport as a
communication tool to promote anti-racism messages. The
report passes a strong message on the need to unleash the
positive potential of sport, both inside and outside the

The report, produced by PMP in partnership
with Loughborough University’s Institute of Sport and Leisure
Policy, was commissioned as part of the European Year of
Education through Sport 2004. With the upcoming sports article
in the new EU Constitution, it is likely to provide a great
deal of food for thought for EU policy-makers in the coming


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