Combatting discrimination in amateur sport: fourth coordination meeting of the MATCH SPORT project

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Paris, France, July 2020 – At a time when European local and regional authorities are faced with the consequences of the Covid crisis on social cohesion, the partners of the European MATCH SPORT project (“Make Amateur Sport Tolerant by Eliminating Racism and Discrimination”) exchanged on the role of amateur sport to strengthen such cohesion during their fourth coordination meeting, held online on 2 and 3 July. The meeting was mainly devoted to the local pilot projects and the communication campaign to be launched in September to coincide with the European Week of Sport.

The consequences of the sanitary crisis on social cohesion and amateur sport

The partners discussed the consequences of the economic crisis linked to Covid-19 on social cohesion. The risk exists that European municipalities, which are hard hit by the social and economic impact of the sanitary crisis, reduce their efforts to strengthen social cohesion right at the time when they should on the contrary be strengthened. Furthermore, even though amateur sport is largely considered an efficient tool to promote values of equality, justice and fair play, it could lose in part the support it gets from local and regional authorities because of inevitable budgetary constraints in the post-Covid period. This is why the partners called on the European Union and Member States to keep supporting local initiatives in favour of social cohesion at a time when solidarity is acutely needed.

Pilot projects in partnership between municipalities, associations and sports clubs

As the meeting was originally planned to be held in Lisbon (PT), which will be European Capital of Sport in 2021, the attendees were received through videoconference by the Director of the municipal Department of Sport, João Pedro Monteiro. The project’s six partner cities – Liège (BE), Lisbon (PT), Loano (IT), Maranello (IT), Nea Propontida (GR), and Valence (FR) – then presented their pilot projects on the prevention of discriminatory violence, which have to incorporate MATCH SPORT’s principles and values.

This means the pilot projects must be built upon strong partnerships between the municipality and local associations and sport clubs; they must promote the role of parents in teaching positive values to young sportspeople, and they must strengthen the role of amateur sport in combatting racism, discrimination and stereotypes. Obviously, such activities will have to take into account the constraints linked to Covid-19, and some have already been re-designed to this end.

Training sessions on how to respond to discriminatory violence and enrol parents

As part of the project, three half-day training modules were designed by the experts and will be delivered online. The six partner cities will be able to choose one of the three modules on offer:

  • How to manage violent incidents in amateur sport among players and spectators?
  • How to raise parents’ and volunteers’ awareness on the issue and train them to adopt the right behaviour during amateur sport events?
  • Reducing violence through the changing of rules and working with the referees

The prevention of discriminatory violence against girls and women is one of the project’s key objectives and will be addressed in all three training modules.

Communication campaign on social media

Represented by Isabella Morgott, Communications Officer, and Martí Navarro Regàs, Programme Manager, Efus presented the communication campaign it has designed, which will be broadcast on social media during the European Week of Sport, in the third week of September.

It will feature 15 posters aimed at raising awareness on discrimination and violence in sport and promoting the actions carried out as part of the project. The campaign will mainly be aimed at field actors – sports professionals, amateur clubs, anti-discrimination associations – but also target the public at large and local authorities. It will seek to fight all forms of discrimination in all sports disciplines and will be based on the key issues identified by the project partners: the values conveyed through sport, stereotypes, violence, sport as a unifying force, and the role of parents.

Next steps

The project has now entered its final phase, which will consist in implementing the local  pilot activities, delivering the training sessions, and starting work on the final brochure. Started in September, the campaign will be broadcast up until the end of the year. 

More information about the MATCH SPORT project.