Brazilian government and FIFA launch anti-racism campaigns for World Cup13 June 2014

AftermonthsmarkedbydiscriminatoryincidentsinBrazilandinternationalfootball,FIFAandtheBraziliangovernmentlaunchedseparateanti-racismcampaignstotackleoneoffootball’sbiggestissuesdaysbeforeThursday’s(12June)WorldCupkick-off.

In March, a series of racist incidents hit Brazilian football, raising concerns as to whether the country would be prepared to prevent a similar situation from happening during the World Cup.

At the time the Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff joined condemnations and pledged the World Cup in Brazil would be free of racism.

Following the President’s promise, the Brazilian Federal Government launched this month a social media campaign under the hashtag #CopaSemRacismo (World Cup without racism) consisting of a series of anti-racism football related pictures and a video.

“In a country so multicultural and diverse, in which all races can be found, an action against racism and discrimination is possible,” said the Brazilian President.

Brazilians and foreigners should be our partners’ 
I invite all Brazilians and foreigners to be our partners in promoting a World Cup free of racism, for peace and without discrimination, a World Cup in which football shows its potential to disseminate the values of mutual understanding, dialogue and respect, between nations and human beings.”

Two of the country’s most outspoken players on the issue, Tinga and Neymar, who have both been the target of abuse outside of Brazil, were used as the campaign’s biggest endorsements.

Alongside with the social media campaign, the Brazilian Sports ministry will also launch a bilingual edition of the 1947 book “Black people in Brazilian Football”, in recognition of the contributions of Afro-Brazilians.

Racism in Brazil has been deemed an “imprescriptible crime(s) with no right to bail to its accused” since 1989. Nevertheless social disparities that affect black Brazilians continue to portray a society that is not inclusive.

Tackle racism with a selfie
FIFA, the organizer of the World Cup, are also running a campaign against racism via social media.

FIFA’s campaign is asking football fans across the world to post a picture on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram holding a banner reading #SayNoToRacism.

A random selection of the pictures tweeted on 4 July, before the quarter-finals, will be shown before kick-off on the giant screens in the venue stadiums – Estadio Nacional, Arena Fonte Nova, Castelão and Maracanã.

The quarter finals are due to be dedicated to the message of anti- discrimination following a press conference focusing on the issue a few days before the finals.

Yesterday CONCACAF President and FIFA Anti- Discrimination Taskforce Chairman Jeffrey Webb said, “We must increase the awareness of inclusion and diversity. We must reward best practice and partnerships that empower those who exercise their responsibility towards greater equality and fairness. We must educate to eradicate inequalities. We must show the positive effects of respect within society. And we must be strict on the consequences of inappropriate behaviour across all levels of football.”