UN slams football racism09 March 2006

A United Nations human rights investigator has accused politicians and sporting bodies of not doing enough to halt rising racism and discrimination in sport.

Doudou Diene, who is UN special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance said, “In view of the gravity of some racist acts and the coverage that they were given in the media, their condemnation and the measures taken against those responsible do not reflect the seriousness of the situation.”

Mr Diene suggested that an international event be organised at June's 2006 World Cup in Germany to send out a strong message against racism in sport.

Perpetrators of racist incidents should be firmly condemned, but unfortunately “some coaches of famous teams” had trivialised racist incidents, he said in a report which is posted on the United Natioins website.

His report will be debated at the UN Commission on Human Rights, whose 53 member states open their annual six-week session in Geneva on Monday. Politicians and national and international sporting bodies should not only take a firm stand against racism, they should get more involved in awareness-raising campaigns, Diene said. Diene said international sports bodies should ask national federations to submit annual reports on racist incidents and the action taken in response.