Observer scheme crucial in fight against discrimination17 April 2020

Discriminationremainsoneofthebiggestlong-termchallengesfacingfootballacrossEuropeandbeyond,asintolerancecontinuestobeafeatureofstadiumswiththeabuseofminoritiesandfar-rightideologiesapartofthecultureofsomesupporters.

The Fare network’s approach of monitoring, reporting and educating has been widely acknowledged by agencies such as the UN, the Council of Europe and other intergovernmental bodies. It is based on a deep understanding of the dynamics of football stadiums, fan rivalries and wider social and political developments in the countries of teams taking part.

We have gathered an extensive list of incidents from the past eight years in matches, which includes incidents of racism, xenophobia, extreme nationalism and homophobia, the list can be viewed here.

The observer system enables us to have a better understanding of the scope of the problem, conduct an analysis, and call for responsible action by governing bodies.

We use this data to highlight particular problems and incidents to our stakeholders, and ensure that steps are taken to prevent further racist and discriminatory incidents from occurring.

All international matches that take place as part of UEFA and FIFA competitions are assessed by our observers, and are selected depending on their likelihood of discriminatory behaviour and for potentially high levels of racism, extreme nationalism, xenophobia, antisemitism or homophobia.

Observers are not sent to domestic league fixtures, but we ensure that these are monitored from our members, the media and incoming reports, which help us to develop a picture of what is happening.

Our observers are experts in their field with a background knowledge in anti-discrimination issues and fan scenes.

They all speak the language of the teams they have been appointed to observe, are working on a voluntary basis and committed to being unbiased. They are not appointed as an observer at a game involving a team they follow themselves as supporters, or a close rival team.

All observers receive training and agree to a strict code of conduct before they start their work.

With regard to any incidents that are reported, it is important to note that although Fare has third party reporting status with UEFA and launched a global monitoring scheme with FIFA, we are not responsible for the regulatory procedures of governing bodies.

For more information on the observer scheme, please click here.