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Publication date:28 October 2010

Racism, ethnic discrimination and exclusion of migrants and minorities in sport: the situation in the European Union

Racism and ethnic discrimination in sport have increasingly become a public issue in European sport over the past decades. This report examines the occurrence and different forms of racism, ethnic discrimination and exclusionary practices in sports, focusing on different sports and levels of practice in the EU.

Objectives - Why this project and for whom?

This project aimed to contribute to combating racism and discrimination in sport. It included an overview of racist incidents and structural discrimination in the 27 EU Member States, highlighting exclusionary policies and practices. The project provided information about problems faced by vulnerable groups, whilst also promoting good practice examples.

Details - What did the project involve?

The study covered all areas of sport, with a particular focus on three sports (football, athletics, and a third national sport that varied according to country).

The study took into account different organisational and professional levels in sport (e.g. international sports associations, national sports associations, international and national fan associations, official and unofficial fan associations, professional sports clubs, and semi-professional and amateur sports clubs).

The aim was to inform policy makers, sports associations, athletes and the general public. The main project themes were:

  • Diversity management, equality and discrimination in national and international sports associations, sports clubs and fan associations;
  • Manifestations of racism and discrimination in the context of sporting events;
  • Positive initiatives by political actors concerning prevention of racist violence in sport.

The project also included a gap analysis as regards availability of data on racist incidents and equality in sport. The analysis was based on data and information gathered by the FRA RAXEN information network and data collected by the contractor.

Innovation - What's 'new' about the project?

The project went far beyond the scope of previous projects on racism in sport that focused primarily on football and were concerned with just one or a few countries only. The FRA project instead covered:

  • the whole of the EU
  • all sports
  • both professional and amateur sports
  • men's, women's, and youth sport
  • the social reality on the ground and legislation
  • racist incidents and structural discrimination.

Outputs - What did the project deliver?

  • A comparative analysis report covering the situation at EU-level and national level
  • A summary of the comparative analysis report
  • A handbook informing about different types of good practice against racism and discrimination in sport.

Related Information

The last decade witnessed considerable changes in Europeans' perceptions and awareness of racism in sport and the need for action. Indeed, open forms of racism and ethnic discrimination in sport have become a European issue. However, with some notable exceptions, there still seems to be a greater focus on open racism, mainly attributed to spectators, with less emphasis on more hidden forms of structural racism.

This project page was last updated on 17.00.2012.