On 28 October 2010 the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) presented a report on racism, ethnic discrimination and the exclusion of migrants and minorities in sport in the European Union.The report presents the findings of the first EU-wide research into this topic.
The findings highlight the fact that although media focus tends to be on racist incidents perpetrated in professional sports, such incidents also occur in amateur sports – not only by fans, but also between players, referees and club officials.
The findings also show that in many sports across the European Union, minorities and migrants are underrepresented, particularly in management positions of sport organisations. Women and girls with a minority or migrant background are particularly underrepresented.
The report contains the results of interviews with representatives of sport federations, player and athlete organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from across the EU, together with an analysis of secondary data and information on racism, ethnic discrimination and the exclusion of migrants and minorities in sport. Professional and amateur sports involving men, women and young people and children were included in the study. Football and athletics were examined in each of the 27 EU Member States and a third sport, popular in the respective Member State, was also covered.
Incidents of racism, anti-Semitism and anti-Gypsyism were identified in football and basketball across the EU. Only 10 EU Member States monitor systematically incidents of racism in sports and mainly relating to men’s professional football, although racist incidents also occur frequently in men’s amateur football. In football, fans are primarily the perpetrators of racist incidents in men’s professional and amateur football. However, a considerable number of racist incidents concerned children’s and youth football. Racist incidents were also recorded among players, particularly in amateur football, but there is a tendency to ignore them in amateur sports. Referees and club officials were involved in some racist incidents.
In many sports across the European Union, minorities and migrants are underrepresented, especially in the management of sports organisations. Women and girls with an ethnic minority background are particularly underrepresented.
Regarding professional sport, an analysis of national regulations of football federations showed that in one third of all Member States there are regulations in place that (at least partly) limit the access of other EU citizens to football. In amateur football, many countries have introduced exceptions for ‘naturalised’ young players; in adult amateur football, however, restrictions for citizens of other EU Member States and/or third-country nationals remain in place, ranging from one to five ‘foreign players’ per team per game who are allowed to participate. Legal and administrative barriers to the participation of non-nationals in sport also exist in some countries for athletics, basketball, ice hockey, handball, speedway, tennis and alpine skiing. (14) Such restrictions can – especially in amateur sport – affect the participation of permanent residents of a country, who do not have citizenship, in both amateur and professional sports.
The study recommends more targeted awareness-raising activities in close cooperation with sports governing bodies, federations and clubs. Special attention should be given to initiatives increasing the participation in sports of girls and women with a minority ethnic background. National and local authorities are encouraged to develop effective monitoring of racist incidents and discrimination in sport in close cooperation with sports federations to improve the recording of incidents, and also to facilitate lodging individual complaints.
National governments are encouraged to maximise the potential of Equality Bodies and National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in addressing racial discrimination in sport.
Les versions françaises du communiqué de presse et de la fiche analytique seront bientôt disponibles sur : www.fra.europa.eu