details of interview
Role of the Interviewed: Head of the Municipality Office for Youth and Sports
Type of radicalization:
Historical period collocation: n/a
Date/Country of the Interview: 26/09/2018, Portugal
Interviewer: Rosto Solidário
Head of Municipality Office
Back to social discrimination we need to acknowledge that in soccer is very usual seeing people mistreating referees and so, through homophobic comments and other kind of hate speech (related to family members, for example). Also race is still a trigger for hate speech specially at the higher levels of completion. But is true that in our days is not as bad as it was back in the eighties.
Our national team is currently including a lot of players that either were born in Lusophone countries and then came to play in Portugal and end it up getting Portuguese citizenship, either others that are second generations from immigrants from countries such as Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, etc.
But as soon as they start getting good results in sports people tend to forget that. Some examples of that are: Pepe who came to Portugal to play in Porto and end it up joining the national team or Ngolo Kante who is currently playing in France.
Fortunately, UEFA is actively seeking to discouraged this kind of behavior through programs like United Against Racism that includes real penalties for those (players and supporters) who show any kind of discrimination.
When someone is watching a match, especially as a group, is common to use assumptions based in race, social group, religions and political values and ideologies to build prejudice and even as a way to speak about a certain player. Example: if a player is Muslim or originally from Middle East you would speak about his performance as “Mohamed this or that”, even if his name is not Mohamed. I think that to a certain point this happens everywhere.
In addition to that, the city council has been working to raise the profile of adapted modalities such as wheel chair basketball, boccia, etc. Through this programs we also seek to fight discrimination.
Some other relevant initiatives:
- National Plan for Ethics in Sport – encouraging equality and ethical behaviour within sports.
- “Soccer for all”: Portuguese Football Federation program.
More than ever teams are opened to host players from all backgrounds. Recently you can find some cases of teams hosting refugees. Nevertheless, supporters and communities can still be very suspicious at the beginning. I think is just because they fear the unknown. In our municipality you would find this about players and board members from Nigeria. But as soon as they get to know the players and build trust in the team that starts to fade away.
Overall I find that our municipality is very welcoming of migrants. For example, regarding sports a group of immigrants from Venezuela recently joined to establish a baseball team. This was a great initiative to help with their integration. Of course we also faced some borderline situations with kids brought from other countries with a promise of a professional career and were deceived. This bring human traffic to our minds and in those cases local authorities need to jump in and act immediately.
We’ve come to a point were some clubs started to ban parents from watching the games, particularly in higher level of completion matches. We are in the right track because I do remember many episodes back in my childhood that supporters were violent physically and verbally towards teams and referees and club did nothing.