29 June 2020 ・ reading time: 2 minutes
Racism and discrimination occur at all levels in sport: racist speeches in the stadium or on the playing field; a 'harmless joke' that hits home; fewer opportunities for people with bicultural backgrounds to become trainers or coaches; and sports clubs that only represent a small part of the population of Amsterdam. More and more (professional) sportspeople are speaking out about this in the media. According to eight Amsterdam political parties in the initiative proposal 'Put an end to racism and discrimination with the Amsterdam Sports Agreement', it is time for the municipality of Amsterdam to put extra effort into this.
Initiator Dorrit de Jong, spokesperson for sports at GroenLinks Amsterdam, says: "sport is what brings Amsterdammers together and connects them. There is no room for racism and discrimination on the sports field. We are glad that the municipality of Amsterdam takes the urgent call of the city council to heart."
KNVB SUPPORTS THE PLANS
The initiators also ask the municipality to join the national campaign of the KNVB against discrimination and racism. With the campaign 'Our football belongs to everyone,' the KNVB recently took up the fight against racism and discrimination in football, with no less than 1.2 million members the most prominent sport in the Netherlands. Therefore, the KNVB is a vital partner for the municipality in the fight against racism and discrimination in sports.
Houssin Bezzai, programme manager in the plan against racism and discrimination, from the KNVB: "The KNVB supports this strong initiative to put an end to racism and discrimination within the Amsterdam sports world. Football in Amsterdam connects countless people with diverse backgrounds. We should cherish that and not let it be ruined. The football world, the KNVB, and the national government have launched a joint plan of action (Our football belongs to everyone) to fight racism and discrimination more effectively. We are committed to raising awareness, better tracking down offenders and, where necessary, punishing them more severely. Clubs, trainers, players and officials will be better assisted and supported so that together we form a front against racism and discrimination. Good cooperation with politics and the government is crucial here because it concerns a broader social issue. If we play well together as a team, we will succeed in eliminating racism and discrimination."
TACKLING RACISM AND DISCRIMINATION
Tackling racism and discrimination in sports is a long-term process in which many measures must help to counter prejudices, stereotyping and discriminatory behaviour. Therefore, the Amsterdam parties make ten proposals to strengthen Amsterdam's anti-discrimination policy and ensure a safe sports climate for everyone.
The parties plead for better information and awareness on prejudice, more diversity among board members, trainers and coaches, and the involvement of experts. Clubs must also be encouraged to tackle racism and discrimination among supporters. "We are going to set a clear standard", says Simion Blom (spokesperson diversity and anti-discrimination policy at GroenLinks). "We do not accept racism. Everyone should be able to develop in sports. Sports exists to unite, not to exclude."
AMSTERDAM SPORTS AGREEMENT
Alderwoman Simone Kukenheim has indicated that after adopting this initiative proposal, the city will process all actions to implement the Amsterdam Sports Agreement. This agreement focused on a better and more inclusive sports climate and was signed last September.