'All men are created equal.'
It is one of the most popular quotations in the history of mankind. However, all over the world there are countless incidents that can be seen as proof of the opposite of these five words.
Too many players are victims of small groups of hooligans that aim to disturb football matches with their ignorant and indecent behavior. There can be no dispute that over the last years there has been a dramatic increase in reported racist incidents in professional football.
Racism can have serious consequences for the players who experience it and are hurt by the grave insults, some have even left the pitch to highlight the issue.
Ultimately, footballers should have the same protection as anyone else in the workplace and be allowed to work in an environment free of racism or any other form of discrimination.
FIFPro is also of the opinion that the players should not retreat to a role of helpless victims. FIFPro invites the players to assist on awareness campaigns. For many people, football players are role models, even heroes. They can play a huge role in combatting racism and racial discrimination. FIFPro is proud of the selfless support the players offer whenever they are requested to join a campaign or event.
FIFPro invites players to report any incident of racist behavior they witness. When we raise the issue with the governing bodies and governments, it is important that we have as much information as possible that is current.
FIFPro's anti racism strategy will build on the positive work that is taking place in our associations around the world, in particular sharing examples of good practice and encouraging initiatives such as 'Show Racism the Red Card'. Through these campaigns, FIFPro and the players aim to educate children and football fans about the risks of racism, discrimination and intolerance, and to engage them in trying to prevent and reduce racism.
The first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms that 'all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights'. FIFPro and all professional football players will continue promoting this important message: 'All men are created equal'.
- Published: 09 January 2014