FIFA has declared that its first ever anti-discrimination monitoring system for the qualifiers of the 2018 World Cup in Russia has so far been successful. Has it?
There will be dissenting voices who have expressed dissatisfaction with FIFA’s seriousness to dealing with racism. The criticism is that FIFA should be tougher in dealing with acts of discrimination in football.
FIFA said in collaboration with the Fare network, it has assessed all 871 qualifying matches and deployed anti-discrimination observers to 177 matches with a higher risk of discriminatory incidents taking place. The system was introduced in May 2015.
The system is reported to have helped to facilitate the work of FIFA referees and disciplinary bodies in gathering additional evidence on incidences. It also sensetised Member Associations on discrimination in football and led to new local campaigns to promote diversity and fight discrimination in stadiums, says FIFA.
“We are very happy with the outcome of the system and how it has helped strengthen the enforcement of FIFA’s regulation against discrimination,” said Federico Addiechi, FIFA head of Sustainability & Diversity. “But more importantly, it has led to an increased awareness about discrimination and new campaigns and projects to prevent it from happening. Ultimately, that is our goal in the fight against discrimination.”
Piara Powar, Executive Director of the Fare network, said: “For the first time in world football all incidents of discrimination at FIFA governed matches were systematically addressed. This has led to greater awareness and numerous debates at national and international level. We now see FIFA member associations in all confederations addressing the issues of racism, sexism, homophobia and extreme nationalism.”
FIFA says Match observers were deployed to support referees and FIFA match commissioners during selected matches with a higher risk of discriminatory incidents taking place. Overall, 140 match observers and 350 match commissioners were trained on the new system.
To reinforce its fight against discrimination at its competitions, FIFA introduced a new three-step procedure in case of discriminatory incidents and also deployed anti-discrimination observers at all matches of the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017. To support this work, FIFA commissioned the Fare network to produce the first Global Guide to Discriminatory Practices in Football.
The three-step procedure for referees as well as the monitoring of discrimination at the matches will continue at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.