Language Switcher

Report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, A/69/340, 22 August 2014

III. Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in sports

A. Context

14. The Special Rapporteur would like to clarify that racism in sports is only one manifestation of discrimination and exclusion directed at persons and groups on the basis of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or other characteristics. Only by redressing the historical legacies and imbalances of racism and discrimination and by constructing tolerant and inclusive societies can the root causes of racism and intolerance in sports be addressed. In the present report, the Special Rapporteur builds on past efforts, including the efforts of his predecessor. The report examines the progress made with regard to legal standard setting at the international, regional and national levels and highlights some key positive initiatives undertaken by various stakeholders. The Special Rapporteur seeks to provide an overview of the remaining challenges and some good practices in the fight against racism and discrimination in sports and, to this end, is grateful for the insights gained from studies carried out by various international and national human rights institutions as well as reports of sports federations and national Governments.

C. Legal, policy and regulatory frameworks and measures taken at the international, regional and national levels by international organizations, governmental agencies, sports federations and civil society organizations

3. National frameworks and initiatives

53. The Royal Netherlands Football Association initiated the “Football for everyone” initiative, an action plan to foster acceptance in national league clubs.[50] Following research which had found that most clubs did not have specific policies for the integration of players from minority communities, the Association compiled an 11-point action plan as a first step to counter racism, discrimination and homophobia in the game. The action plan has a strong formal education emphasis; as such, the Association revised its training material and expanded the criteria for the certification of youth, amateur and professional training courses to include education on discrimination and sexual orientation. Incorporated in the action plan is an innovative measure whereby several feedback mechanisms have been created at the national level to ensure that the policies implemented are effective on the ground. For instance, the Association created confidential advisers in its district offices with a twofold objective: to act as an advisory body for clubs, providing technical assistance in project implementation; and to act as a sounding board for the implementation of the action plan, providing feedback to the Association’s policymakers. In addition, the Association joined efforts with the Fair Play Alliance to conduct independent research on the evolution of discrimination in Netherlands football, monitoring the impact and evolution of the initiatives undertaken. Another aim of the action plan is to expand and improve existing campaigns in sports, such as the “Towards a safer sports climate” initiative, which incorporates the issue of discrimination in its informative activities and workshops.[51]

IV. Conclusions and recommendations

64. The Special Rapporteur is of the opinion that policies and initiatives to combat racism and discrimination are more effective when combined with reliable data about the occurrence, location and content of such incidents. As such, he encourages States to implement reliable and accessible monitoring systems for the cataloguing of racist, homophobic, sexist and other related incidents in sports.

[51]]51. See (accessed 21 July 2014).[[51]]

Link to full text of the report: Report-SRRacism-Durban-sports-2014-eng

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. 50. See (accessed 21 July 2014).