Sport tackling discrimination- all round national approach

Couple weeks ago I was invited to participate at the Freekick For Equality conference. The program of the conference was very much dynamic and interactive.

The conference was a closure of the projectFootball for Equality – Tackling racism and homophobia with a focus and Central- and Eastern Europe”, supported by European Commission.

Brief about project objectives:

–       Awareness campaign

–       Promotion of a sport as a social drive force

–       Sharing know-how

Especially, I was pleased to take part in the workshop 1: Bridging the Gap: Networking among Stakeholders

“To address discrimination and exclusion in sport the creation of viable partnerships and networks among a range of stakeholders is a key. These include grass-root activists, minority groups, sport governing bodies, clubs, athletes and policy makers. But in practice this poses a set of challenges: grass-root groups are still faced with ignorance on part of governing bodies and also the joint fight across different grounds of discrimination is a relatively new concept. Furthermore, networking across national borders remains often rhetoric and the divide between “Western” and “Eastern” Europe is still a reality. How can we bridge these gaps, what are the roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders?”


In 2012, I took part at two the similar conferences in Split, Croatia and Utrecht, Nederland. Bearing in mind that I am coming from the sport policy area, when we talk about Balkan region approach to the tackling barriers for all to participate freely in sport depends not only on a overall society of a certain country but very much of a specific  sport system of that particular country.

Summary of my presentation and discussion:

– Acknowledge that participating in sport is a basic human right!

– Introduce clear criteria for funding oriented on good practice examples.

– From the legal point of view, introduce amendments on the Law on Sport to tackle any kind of discrimination or hate crime in sports followed with bylaw for creation National Commission for Ethics in Sports and Code of Conduct

– Along with all stakeholders work on providing risk free environment for all groups (regardless of any differences)

– Set a long term national project for achieving sport system with zero tolerance for discrimination and harassment

Project for achieving sports system with zero tolerance should be focused on:

– Stimulating different qualitative research in order to find out what are the obstacles that vulnerable groups are facing into sports system at all level (participants and institutional)

– Introducing a human rights into Montenegrin system of sports education (University for sport and physical education

– Increase awareness regarding all kinds of discrimination through sport

In order to achieve sustainability, proposed project should involve all stakeholders at the national level:

a) Government authorities (Advisor for human rights and protection of discrimination, Ministry for human and minority rights, Parliamentary Committee for human rights and freedom, Ministry for education and sport, Ministry for science)

b) Sports authorities (Montenegrin Olympic Committee, National Sports Federations, Sports Organizations)

c) NGO (NGOs related with field of sport, human and minority rights)

At the end, since Balkan region is associated with same or similar obstacles, regional and cross border cooperation is vital.

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