Held at the Belgian Football Centre in Tubize, the event brought together youngsters who were divided into teams to work together on the case study “How can we combat racism and other discrimination issues in football and work on the inclusion of refugees, asylum seekers and other groups?”.
The ideas from the different teams will help to shape the Belgian FA’s future FSR strategy for 2020-2024 and establish a youth council who can advise the association when needed. At the end of the day every team involved had to pitch their idea to a panel of judges.
The initiative was launched by the Belgian FA after Belgian international player, Romelu Lukaku, was the victim of racist chants while playing for Cagliari against Inter Milan early this season. The RBFA sent a message of solidarity with Lukaku, before organising an event calling on young people to attend a brainstorming session on how to combat discrimination and racist chants on and around the football fields of Belgium.
“Racism is intolerable, said Peter Bossaert, CEO of the Royal Belgian Football Association. “The fact that we are still fighting against it in 2019 is very sad. But we fight it and will continue to do so.
“Racism must be stamped out in the football world, in our stadiums and in society at large. If one of our players, such as Romelu Lukaku, is the target of racist abuse, we feel attacked too. We believe it is important to express our support and to take a clear position against all forms of discrimination and racism on and off the football field.”
Hackathon for diversity
The hackathon for diversity was organised in collaboration with the NGO Route 2030, with funding from Fare as part of the #FootballPeople weeks campaign. The best ideas presented at the event will help shape the RBFA’s 2020-2024 strategic plan to counter discrimination.
The event came as part of the RBFA’s wider initiatives to promote diversity in the world of football and fight against racism and discrimination. The RBFA is also part of the FIRE project to accelerate the integration of refugees through the means of football, in which Fare is also a project partner.