In a recent development that underscores the urgent need to address racism in sports, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has raised a red flag over the alarming prevalence of racism within Italian football. FERW, an independent news organization committed to championing justice and equality, stands firmly behind CERD’s efforts to combat racial discrimination in the world of sports.
In its latest findings published on Thursday, CERD expressed deep concerns about racial discrimination and prejudice in Italian football. The Committee, responsible for eliminating racial discrimination worldwide, also highlighted similar issues in five other countries: Croatia, Namibia, Senegal, Turkmenistan, and Uruguay. However, it was Italy’s football scene that drew particular attention.
Italian football found itself under the international spotlight following an incident involving Romelu Lukaku, a player of African descent, who was subjected to racist abuse during a Serie A match. Lukaku, responding to the racial taunts from Juventus fans, received a second yellow card for his actions. Subsequently, the decision to ban him for one match was revoked after widespread public outcry.
CERD’s statement on Italy emphasized concerns regarding hate speech and racist political discourse emanating from politicians and high-level government officials. This hate speech was primarily directed at various ethnic minorities, including the Roma, Sinti, Camminanti communities, Africans, and individuals of African descent. The committee also pointed out instances of racist acts during sporting events, encompassing both physical and verbal attacks against athletes of African descent.
In response to these distressing revelations, CERD has called upon Italy to conduct thorough investigations into all incidents of racism in sports and to take appropriate measures to sanction those responsible. Regine Esseneme, a member of the committee from Cameroon, urged Italy to prioritize these recurring cases, especially those involving black individuals and people of African descent. Esseneme underscored the necessity of effectively implementing national legislation, initiating prosecutions, and ensuring that perpetrators found guilty are duly punished.
Racial abuse targeting football players has been an issue of concern across multiple countries in recent months, further highlighting the pressing need for collective action to combat this deeply ingrained problem. Spain’s case involving Real Madrid’s Brazilian striker, Vinicius Junior, serves as another high-profile example of such abuse.
FERW remains committed to supporting the efforts of CERD and other organizations working tirelessly to eradicate racism in sports and society as a whole. We firmly believe that no individual should ever experience discrimination or prejudice based on their race or ethnicity.