Slovakia: Students give their views on violence and nationalism in football31 March 2009

The topic “Football – Sports, no place for manifesting violence and nationalism” was a part of the national final round of the Human Rights Olympics which took place on March 24-26 2009 in Liptovský Ján in Slovakia.

The topic of this essay selected by the Slovak National Centre for Human Rights was chosen by 16 students from the total number of 64 finalists of the competition entered by 4000 students every year. High school students also offered various interesting opinions on the match from November 1st 2008 between DAC Dunajská Streda – ŠK Slovan which resulted in a questionable police intervention and nationalist manifestations from both fan groups.

Students agreed that expressions of violence, racism or nationalism that also occur in
Slovak football leagues should not destroy football. They also demand more action from fans, clubs, the Slovak Football Association, police and media.

Ludia proti rasizmu {People Against Racism}, as the national partner of FARE highly appreciate that this biting issue became one of the topics such a competition as Human Right Olympics.

“This topic also drew the attention of UEFA, an important partner of the FARE network. The European Football Union presented the five most successful students with official Champions League FINALE balls, each signed by Michel Platini, the UEFA president. This shows that it is not only we here that are aware of the issues of nationalism and discrimination which afflict football.” said Juraj Kiss, chairman of People Against Racism.

Students also discussed this topic in the workshop hosted by the Slovak National Centre for Human Rights and People Against Racism. „Attendance and interest was high. Students and professors spent more than two hours lively debating the issues that negatively influence football,“ Juraj Kiss added.

Ludia proti rasizmu also underlined the various opinions presented in the essays and reaffirmed their goodwill to improve the situation in stadiums and within society.