Brazilian goalkeeper Aranha receives award for fight against racism15 December 2014

Aranha’seffortstochallengeracisminBrazilianfootballhavebeenrecognisedbythePresidentofBrazilDilmaRousseffatthe20th HumanRightsawardsceremonyheldattheItamaratypalace,in Brasília, lastThursday(11December).

The Santos FC goalkeeper was among 21 individuals honoured by the Brazilian Secretary of Human Rights for their efforts in campaigning against discrimination and promoting human rights in the country.

“The fight you lead is of extreme importance.

“Great advances have been made, but there is still a lot to be done. We have to continue this work to bring a about change.” Dilma Rousseff said at the event.

‘I did the right thing’ 
In 2014, a number of incidents of discriminatory nature have hit Brazilian football and raised concerns about the way football authorities are dealing with the problem.

In August, Aranha was racially abused by a group of Grêmio de Porto Alegre fans at a Brazilian Cup match. The incident caused an outcry among the public opinion, reopening discussions around the topic.

The player and the club both reported and promptly condemned the incident, seeking the punishment of the perpetrators.

A month later, the Brazilian Superior Court of Sporting Justice issued unprecedented sanctions, including the expulsion of Grêmio from the Brazilian Cup and the suspension of the referee and linesmen, officiating at the match, for 45 and 30 days respectively, for failing to report the incident.

The four fans involved in the incident were also banned from attending Grêmio matches for a period of 11 months.

“This [award] comes to strengthen the feeling that I did the right thing” said Aranha after receiving the award.

Tackling racism
Along side Aranha, other players, who have also been subjected to racist abuse in stadiums, including Tinga (Cruzeiro) and Arouca (Santos FC), have also joined forces in 2014 to seek action against discrimination and raise the level of awareness of the issue.

Conferences and seminars, as well as anti-racism initiatives, led by fans and football bodies, have spread out across Brazil over the last months in response to the incidents and highlighting cultural diversity in Brazil.

Dilma e Aranha