UN human rights chief urges action on football racism
Football authorities must punish those guilty of racism, the UN human rights chief said Friday (19 March).
Navi Pillay also noted that the upcoming World Cup in South Africa offered an opportunity to review the problem in sport.
“On occasions, rich clubs and rich national bodies have escaped with derisory fines of a few thousand dollars after serious racist incidents during matches,” Ms Pillay noted in a statement.
“I urge FIFA, UEFA and national football authorities everywhere to back their strong rhetoric with serious and consistent disincentives, including stadium bans, and point deductions,” said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Ms Pillay noted the symbolism of the next World Cup in South Africa, as it was a country which suffered under ‘institutionalised racism’ for years.
In addition, it was also in the South African township of Sharpeville where dozens of protestors demonstrating in 1960 against the apartheid regime were killed by the South African police.
The incident led to March 21 being named as International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Ms Pillay noted that the move to eradicate racism in sports had come a long way, and it was now common to see players from all ethnic backgrounds playing on the same pitch.
However, racial minorities were still ‘disturbingly under-represented at the managerial level,’ she noted.