Report: Discrimination in sports goes unacknowledged

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A new report from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has identified incidents of racism, anti-Semitism and anti-Gypsyism in both amateur and professional football and basketball across the EU 27.

Meanwhile, the report notes that there is a reluctance to recognise such incidents, particularly at amateur level.

According to the EU agency, in particular in Germany and Italy, experts warn that right-wing extremists are becoming active in amateur leagues.

The report on tackling racism, ethnic discrimination and exclusion of migrants and minorities in sport was published last week. It is the first EU-wide research on the topic and draws on the findings of separate studies conducted in all EU-27 countries.

While the study's focus is on ethnic minorities and migrants, it also looked at gender and age in relation to sport. The report reveals that women and girls of an ethnic minority background are particularly underrepresented in sport.

The EU agency said the study's findings prove that despite significant progress made in recent years, limited attention is paid to the fact that minorities and migrants are generally underrepresented in sport, particularly in management positions in sports organisations.

To tackle the issue of racism in sport, the report notes that more targeted awareness-raising activities in close cooperation with sports governing bodies, federations and clubs are necessary.

The experts also called on national governments to maximise the potential of equality bodies and National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in addressing racial discrimination in sport.

Finally, the report notes that the Council Framework Decision on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law is an important legal instrument that could effectively be used to combat racism at sports events.

The European Network Against Racism (ENAR) welcomed the findings of FRA's report "as an important tool to raise awareness of the issue of racism and structural discrimination in sport, which is a generally under-researched area with the exception of football".

The network would, however, have welcomed more concrete recommendations for the different stakeholders in the field - the EU institutions, national and local authorities, equality bodies, sports governing bodies and federations, fan clubs, etc. - in order to ensure the report's findings have a real impact in the fight against racism and discrimination in sports.

It also called for measures to be taken to ensure better monitoring and data collection on racist incidents, as well as on inclusion and representation of ethnic minorities and migrants in sport, at all levels.

 

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