Sport Conventions

Recommendation Rec(2001)6 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the prevention of racism, xenophobia and racial intolerance in sport

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 18 July 2001 at the 761st meeting of the Ministers' Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers, under the terms of Article 15.b of the Statute of the Council of Europe,

Bearing in mind the Declaration adopted by the Heads of State and Government of the member states of the Council of Europe at the Vienna Summit (1993) and, in particular, the Declaration and Plan of Action for combating racism, xenophobia, anti-semitism and intolerance;

Bearing in mind the European Convention on Human Rights and its protocols, in particular Protocol No. 12;

Bearing in mind the European Convention on Spectator Violence and Misbehaviour at Sports Events and in particular at Football Matches;

Bearing in mind Recommendation N R (97) 20 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on “hate speech”;

Bearing in mind Resolution No. 4 on preventing racism, xenophobia and intolerance in sport adopted at the 9th Conference of European Ministers responsible for Sport in Bratislava in May 2000;

Bearing in mind the measures advocated by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI);

Bearing in mind the Political Declaration and the General Conclusions adopted by the European Conference against Racism and Intolerance (13 October 2000);

Recognising the growing role played by sport in socialisation and community development;

Aware of the role of sport in educating young people in particular, in mutual respect, tolerance, fair-play and against discrimination;

Considering that racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance constitute a serious threat to sport and its ethical values;

Taking note of the initiatives taken by several international sport organisations, and in particular those taken by FIFA and UEFA;

Aware that hooliganism, violence in sport and racist/neo-nazi/extreme right-wing movements may be bound up with each other;

Considering that a number of further specific measures are needed in order to eradicate racism, xenophobia and racial intolerance from sport;

Considering that the promotion of a democratic and tolerant society, free from racism and discrimination of all kinds requires an effort by the whole population,

Recommends the governments of member states adopt effective policies and measures aimed at preventing and combating racist, xenophobic, discriminatory and intolerant behaviour in all sports and in particular football, drawing inspiration from the guidelines in the appendix to this Recommendation;

Transmits this Recommendation to the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance;

Calls upon all sport organisations, such as FIFA, UEFA and national football associations, to assist in these aims with all the means available to them.

Appendix to Recommendation Rec(2001)6

A. Definition

1. In this document, racism is used in the broad sense, covering xenophobia, anti-Semitism, discrimination and all related forms of racial and ethnic intolerance.

2. Racism in sport is not a phenomenon confined to football grounds. Nor is it confined just to players of colour. It can affect all sports and can manifest itself at several levels, in amateur sport and at institutional and international levels, as well as in the media. It can occur at local level particularly, but not exclusively, in the interaction (for real or imagined reasons of colour, religion, nationality or ethnic origin) between or against players, teams, coaches and spectators and also against referees. It can include the abuse of teams or even whole groups.

B. Sharing responsibilities and co-ordination

1. The responsibility for combating racism in sport falls to public authorities (the legislative authority, the courts, the police, governmental bodies responsible for sport and local authorities) and non-governmental organisations (professional and amateur national sports associations, clubs, local sports associations, supporters' clubs, players' organisations, anti-racist associations and so on).

2. In designing a policy and action to effectively combat racism, an overall approach involving all the partners should be adopted. At national level, the tasks and responsibilities of all those involved should be set out in a framework agreement.

3. As well as their prerogatives in relation to law making, the courts and the police, government bodies should also act as co-ordinators. The co-ordination framework should include a means of consultation between the parties concerned.

4. Governments should also support non-governmental organisations, particularly national sports organisations, clubs and anti-racist associations, upon whom falls the principal task of implementing awareness-raising, educational and information programmes on racism in sport. The payment of grants to sports organisations and clubs could be made conditional on a firm commitment and effective action by them to combat racism.

5. At international non-governmental level, particular leadership and disciplinary responsibilities lie with sports governing bodies (in the case of football, FIFA and UEFA) and their affiliated national organisations.

C. Legislative measures

1. Although constitutional and legal rules prohibiting all sorts of discrimination exist in most of the Council of Europe member states, special legislative measures should be taken to deal with the issue of racism in sport.

2. Every government should ensure that its legal and administrative systems are given the most appropriate and effective national legal means of combating racism in sport. To give an example, legal measures on combating racism in sport could be introduced into the existing body of legislation, in, for example, the penal code. Such measures could also be adopted as part of a specific sports law, or the law concerning the fight against violence in sport or the law relating to a particular sport, for example football.

3. Legislation should proscribe as criminal offences all types of act (flaunting of banners or symbols) or words (insults or chanting), committed or uttered at sporting events such as to incite violence or other discriminatory behaviour against racial, ethnic or religious groups or members of those groups on the grounds that they belong to such a group.

4. Legislation should provide for strict penalties for racist acts committed in sports arenas. In addition, other non-penal sanctions such as exclusion or banning from stadiums should be provided for.

5. In order to make criminal penalties more effective and increase their deterrent character, proceedings should automatically be brought for all racist acts.

6. Legislative measures should not be limited to repressive provisions. Existing laws should also be reviewed in order to eliminate any provisions that create or encourage any discriminatory situation, particularly in laws on various sports (cf. those on football) or laws on the status of sporting organisations: for example, immigrants or migrants legally resident in a given country should not be counted in the quotas applied to players transferred direct from a foreign country. In certain European countries, the quotas imposed on sportspersons of non-European Union nationality prevent young people from immigrant families from playing in official (professional or amateur) leagues there.

D. Implementation of legislative measures

1. In the fight against racism, co-operation and joint strategies between the police, the courts, event organisers, stadium/club managers, stewards, supporters and non-governmental organisations are essential to identify the guilty persons and gather evidence of the offence.

2. Video cameras and CCTV systems installed in stadiums for public safety and public order reasons should also be used to assist in the identification of racist offenders.

3. Police officers and stewards should intervene effectively to show that racist acts or chanting are not harmless activities and that their perpetrators will not go unpunished.

4. Police officers and stewards should be made aware of the problem of racism, informed of the laws and regulations and trained to act on and deal with the problem of racism. To help in the identification of perpetrators of racist offences, specially trained police officers should be assigned to each major club/stadium.

5. An information system should be developed which includes data on racist offences and their perpetrators and a means of communicating information between the police and organisers of sports events. Information systems on hooliganism, where they already exist, could be used to this end.

6. Actions that have been taken against those who have engaged in racist behaviour should be given appropriate publicity.

E. Measures to be taken in sports grounds

1. As part of an integrated approach, legislative measures should be supplemented with regulations and educational and social measures. To this end, governments should urge sports organisations and clubs:

a. to recognise that racism and all other forms of discrimination are a major problem in sport, especially in football;

b. to adopt and publicise firm and unequivocal anti-racist policies;

c. to include clauses in their rules and regulations valid at all level of competition which enable referees, umpires or other match officials to impose effective sporting sanctions on participants who perpetrate racist acts (gestures, insults, etc.) either immediately during the competition or as a consequent disciplinary measure;

d. to take effective measures to instil in players, coaches and other individuals a moral spirit of fair play especially with regard to their attitude towards others of differing ethnic groups;

e. to state clearly in their regulations and those of the stadium that racist slogans, symbols, gestures and chanting are strictly prohibited in and around stadiums and indicate the penalties that will be incurred for any breach of these regulations (expulsion from the stadium, cancellation of any season tickets and ban on future access, stadium bans and events played behind closed doors, etc.): provisions should also be provided to discontinue the sports events during which supporters display placards bearing racist and/or xenophobic slogans or incitements to violence;

f. to include in the conditions of sale for season-tickets and other tickets that the holders undertake not to engage in racist acts;

g. to take practical measures inside and in the vicinity of stadiums, for example: public announcements condemning racism should be made during matches; the sale or distribution of handouts, posters, stickers or any other form of racist publication should be forbidden and actively prevented; racist graffiti should immediately be removed, and so on.

F. Measures to be taken at local level

1. Governments, at national and local levels, and with the impulse of locally elected representatives, should implement, and encourage local sporting organisations and clubs to devise programmes adapted to the local situation in order to exploit to the full the potential which sport offers for social and cultural integration. To this end, they should establish dialogue and partnership with organisations involved in combating racism in sport, in particular with supporters' clubs, migrants' associations and ethnic minority groups.

2. Ethnic minority communities' organisations should be involved in the fight against racism in sport in the context of a wider struggle for migrants' rights, against racist attacks and to encourage inclusion.

3. Governments should support and take necessary measures to facilitate the participation of members of different ethnic minorities in sport activities. In this respect, co-operation of amateur and school clubs with professional teams should be encouraged.

4. Event organisers should be encouraged to foster more inclusive stadium and sport venue culture and atmosphere, to attract members of different ethnic groups as spectators and supporters by, for example, offering them cut-price or free tickets.

5. Governments should urge local authorities and sports governing bodies to encourage and support movements and initiatives to promote sportsmanship and tolerance, and educational and social projects: the adoption and publication of a code of ethics (based, for example on the Code of Sports Ethics in Recommendation R (92) 14) and sportsmanship, meetings with schoolchildren, messages from famous sportspersons (such as the national Ambassadors for Sport, Tolerance and Fair Play), matches with amateur community-group clubs and supporters' embassies at professional matches, and so on.

G. Measures to be taken at institutional level

1. Equal opportunities policies, including training to raise awareness on cultural and ethnic diversity, should be developed and applied in sporting organisations and clubs.

2. Education and awareness campaigns on the elimination of racism in sport should be introduced at all levels, involving international sports federations, European sport organisations, national federations and clubs, and young people and children.

3. Governments should urge sporting organisations to review their regulations and delete any rule which might give rise to or foster discrimination between different national and ethnic groups (cf. C.6).

4. Governments should urge sports federations and clubs to set an example by making sure that community groups are represented among their managers, staff, trainers, officials and so on. This would not necessarily mean introducing quotas, but it does mean making room for ethnic minority groups.

5. Governments should help sporting federations and clubs with appropriate anti-racism initiatives, if necessary through making grants.

6. Governments should support other non-governmental organisations and campaigns to combat racism and xenophobia in sport, if necessary through making grants.

H. International co-operation within the Standing Committee

1. Racist offences committed at international matches and other international sports events in Europe should be dealt with in the framework of international police co-operation and be included in the system for exchanging information. The forms for exchanging information contained in the Appendix to T-RV Recommendation No. 1 (97), and the list of national correspondents for bilateral contacts on matters connected with football hooliganism drawn up by the Standing Committee of the European Convention on Spectator Violence (T-RV) could be used for this purpose.

2. Exchange of information on good practice in combating racism in sport should be encouraged within the Standing Committee (T-RV).

3. The measures taken to combat racism in sport should be regularly assessed in each country. National reports on the implementation of this recommendation should be submitted to the Standing Committee as part of the procedure for monitoring the application of the convention. Such reports would include information on the activities of national and international non governmental organisations involved in this work.