Sport bigwigs tackle racism

2014-11-12 17:12

South Africa is hosting one of the world’s biggest antiracism symposiums next week.

Under the auspices of Global Watch – an initiative that tackles discrimination in sport – the two-day gathering about racism and discrimination in sport has attracted some of the world’s top organisations, including world football controlling body Fifa, the International Olympic Committee, Federation Internationale de l’Automobile and the United Nations. All these organisations will be represented at the Emperors Palace summit on November 21 and 22.

President Jacob Zuma, his predecessor Thabo Mbeki and former Springbok captain Francois Pienaar are also expected to be in attendance.

According to Global Watch chairperson Tokyo Sexwale, the summit will draft a charter with basic principles to fight racism in sport.

“Enough is enough and something has to be done. We can’t take it any more and someone has to put a stop to racism,” said Sexwale at today’s press briefing at the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund offices in Johannesburg.

Sexwale also took the opportunity to condemn Russian football coach Igor Gamula, who last week referred to black players in his team as “things”.

“This is unacceptable and cannot be condoned. Steps must be taken to eradicate this kind of behaviour and I have spoken to my friend Vladimir Putin [Russia president] to act on racism in his country.”

He commended Rostov defender Siyanda Xulu for standing up for his rights and leading a boycott of a training session after Gamula’s comments.

“This is a crime against humanity and it should not be condoned.”

The former Gauteng premier said they would propose three categories on how to deal with racism in the world.

“First, it is about education, awareness and advocacy. People need to speak up about these things. Second, it is about analysing case by case before taking sanctions and punitive measures,” he said.

He said they would establish a barometer to check the adherence to the charter by sporting personalities and other stakeholders.

Safa president Danny Jordaan added that it was befitting that South Africa was at the forefront of fight against racism as people here had first-hand experience.

“We know what we are talking about and we need to educate the world about the impact of racism in the society. I am happy with this initiative and we will support it all the way,” said Jordaan.

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