Sport brings together millions of people, regardless of their sex, colour, gender, age, nationality or religion. It breaks down barriers and builds bridges where boundaries usually exist. In other words, it has the potential to foster inclusion, mutual respect and acceptance of diversity, and also to promote social integration.
Due to its welcoming and diverse nature, however, sport faces a number of challenges with regards to incidences of racism and discrimination. Acts of discriminatory violence on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or socioeconomic status sadly remain a daily reality in all Member States of the European Union (EU). Furthermore, according to the EU Anti-Racism Action Plan (2020-2025), hate-motivated violence and harassment often remains unreported. This leaves victims vulnerable and inhibits action to bring about positive change. Not only do these acts have a traumatic effect on the victims’ physical and mental health, but they also send a negative message to whole groups or communities, denying them the right to participate in society. Finally, the lack of effective monitoring systems to record racism and discrimination in sport makes it difficult for relevant authorities and organisations to identify, respond to and mitigate acts of discriminatory violence.