Violent incidents and hate speech are a common problem in sport. In particular, they involve verbal abuse (insults, chants) and acts committed (displaying of placards, symbols) at sports events which inflame nationalist sentiments, denigrate women, homosexuals and ethnic minorities or incite violence against them. The phenomenon sometimes manifests itself more allusively, for instance with the setting on fire of an inflatable doll wearing the opposing team’s kit. However, it also goes beyond the individual or collective conduct of supporters and occurs between or against players, teams, trainers or referees.
While increased attention has been paid to hate speech and acts of hatred in sport in recent years, sexist and homophobic speech and acts are less widely recognised or are trivialised, and largely remain unpunished.
The Parliamentary Assembly underlines that hate speech and acts of hatred undermine respect for human dignity and the principle of equality and are a violation of human rights. Sport should be an instrument for promoting and transmitting values such as mutual respect and tolerance, rather than a breeding ground for racist, sexist and homophobic ideas.
To combat this scourge, it is necessary to raise awareness and introduce specific measures involving all the relevant stakeholders, including the authorities, players, trainers, referees, the media, national and international sports organisations and the population as a whole.
The Assembly should take stock of the situation with a view to recommending to Council of Europe member States the measures needed to effectively combat and prevent hate speech and acts of hatred in sport.