Global initiative against racism launched
June 05 2014 11:26 PM

South African activist Tokyo Sexwale (left), Doha GOALS executive director HE Sheikh Faisal bin Mubarak al-Thani (centre) and Nelson Mandela Foundation’s Sello Hatanga announcing the launch of ‘Global Watch: Say No to Racism Discrimination in Sport’.

A new global initiative to tackle racism and discrimination in sport was launched yesterday at the Aspire Zone by South African activist, politician and businessman Tokyo Sexwale, Doha GOALS (Gathering Of All Leaders in Sport) executive director HE Sheikh Faisal bin Mubarak al-Thani and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Sexwale, a veteran of the liberation struggle in South Africa and a former Robben Island political prisoner with Nelson Mandela, the late South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, will co-chair an initiative called Global Watch: Say No to Racism Discrimination in Sport with Sheikh Faisal bin Mubarak al-Thani.

Racism has been on the rise in sport recently, especially in football. Spanish football has been plagued by racist incidents this season, the most high profile involving Barcelona’s Dani Alves, who took a bite off a banana thrown at him by a Villarreal fan during a La Liga match in April. Villarreal were fined £9,800 by the Spanish Federation.

Real Madrid were also ordered to close part of their Bernabeu stadium for a match after they were charged over racist behaviour by fans during their Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich in April.

In Formula One too, British driver Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes was subjected to racist chants at the Spanish Grand Prix, which apparently went unnoticed and uncovered by the media.

Sexwale, the founder has the Sexwale Foundation and a member of the FIFA’s Force Against Racism and Discrimination, said the growing trend was a major concern. “Global Watch is a call to action by all right thinking persons across the globe, black and white, to take a stand in the face of racial bigotry which is increasingly becoming daring and brazen in its attempt to transform playing fields into zones of racism-discrimination and hatred,” Sexwale said yesterday.

The veteran administrator revealed that the Global Watch will commission the compilation of a barometer on racism-discrimination in sport. The barometer will be produced periodically and will act as a monitoring tool to define challenges and to measure progress. The barometer will have the involvement of independent, credible and internationally recognised agencies to audit its accuracy.

“The barometer is going to tell ... that the conduct of your sporting people is bringing your country down. It’s a monitoring tool to gauge and find out the positions on how countries tackle racism. Barometer will be shown which country has zero tolerance towards racism and which country has less tolerance. The countries will be divided into green, red and yellow. So a country in red has too much racism prevailing, if green then they have zero tolerance towards racism and if yellow they have to pick up on acting against racism,” Sexwale said. 

He also informed that a global summit will be convened in Johannesburg on September 9-10, where international sporting organisations, leading sporting figures, anti-racism and anti-discrimination activists, government representatives and other stakeholders will discuss on how to combat growing racism and discrimination in sport.

The purpose of the summit is to develop a charter, which will be presented to the United Nations through the office of Commissioner Navi Pillay, the head of the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights. The new initiative has been backed by FIFA, the International Olympics Committee, the FIA and the UN Human Rights Commission, as well as high-profile leaders.

Commenting on this partnership, Sheikh Faisal said: “Doha GOALS forum is proud to be a founding partner of Global Watch, we believe that sport can play a critical role in contributing to the building of a better world , and look forward to working with the Nelson Mandela foundation and the Sexwale foundation on advancing this mission.”





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