“Intransigent with the culprit, empathize with the victim”

In its firm intention to eradicate racism from soccer fields, the Association of Spanish Soccer Players (AFE), hand in hand with its president David Aganzo, organized the ‘Racism in football’ conference at its headquarters in Madrid, a debate forum in which people from different fields analyzed a scourge that needs to be eradicated. A day organized by Faith Oaks (Responsible for AFE Projects) and Maria Jose Lopez (responsible for Integrity of AFE) consisted of two round tables where they reflected on racism in the field of football, with the participation of Mundo Deportivo.

Conference 'Racism in football', organized by AFE

Conference ‘Racism in football’, organized by AFE

AFE

David Aganzo opened the day, highlighting that “every day it is more important to educate the new generations in fundamental values. It is necessary that from a very early age you know what the right path is. A mission in which we must get involved together, starting with institutions such as AFE, which has such a wide scope and represents thousands of footballers”.

The president of AFE explained that “we cannot look the other way. We must be proactive, try to tackle the problem before it occurs, not when it is too late. We must be firm and relentless when experiencing an episode of racism. To be intransigent before those people who do not want to be part of a noble and principled community”.

Conference on 'racism in football', organized by AFE

Conference on ‘racism in football’, organized by AFE

AFE

“Nelson Mandela said that ‘no one is born hating another person because of the color of their skin, their origin or their religion.’ Well, that, let’s fight not to contaminate those innocent minds”, emphasized David Aganzo, who stressed to conclude that “we are all different, each person is unique, but it must be respect that makes us equal. Equality, a word that we highly value at AFE and that must be an essential pillar in our day to day life”.

The first table, ‘Is there racism in football? How can it be eradicated in soccer fields?’, counted with the participation of Begoña Villarrubia Renom (sports journalist), Javier Duran Gonzalez (sociologist) and Raul Martinez Corcuera (research professor).

Raul Martinez claimed “the important role that the media must play” against hate speech, emphasizing that “there is an enormous multiplicity of racist speech, not just one”, denouncing that many excuses are always made, “we tend to say that ‘ that also happens in other places’, ‘these are football things to annoy the rival’, ‘they are a minority that does not represent our fans’, ‘it was provoking us’, etc. “If we know the culprits, why don’t they just disappear? Why are they still there? It is also evident that it is a cross-cutting issue in which all parties must be involved”, he reflected.

David Aganzo, president of the AFE, during his appearance

David Aganzo, president of the AFE, during his appearance

AFE

Raúl Martínez: “If we know the culprits, why don’t they disappear? Why are they still there?”

The professor estimates that “soccer players, in this case, must have important leadership before these practices. Awareness and training are also important concepts to keep in mind. And, of course, apply the Law properly. And not be careful when it comes to “closing a stand, an entire stadium, suspending a game or sanctioning a club.”

“Emotional proximity is basic to empathize with the victim,” he stressed. Javier Duran Gonzalez considering fundamental “to work in the educational field. I want to remember that there can be up to a fourfold discrimination, not only racial. Promoting equality and respect is key.” And he made it clear that “on a playing field there is no one left over”.

“Sport is a great social lift”, he pointed out Xavier Duran, giving as an example the “extraordinary case of the Williams brothers, idols in Bilbao”, highlighting that “there are schools of parents in many clubs that are doing a great job”. “Empathy is very important, valuing the exemplary actions of the rival. Is it so difficult to enjoy the team you are facing? ”, He reflected. “Hugging after scoring a goal is one of the best antidotes to racism,” he emphasized.

Conference on 'racism in football', organized by AFE

Conference on ‘racism in football’, organized by AFE

AFE

Javier Durán: “Hugging after scoring a goal is one of the best antidotes against racism”

As a journalist who follows women’s football, Begona Villarrubia Renom acknowledged that “I have seen similarities between racism and machismo. Many soccer players are subjected to denigrating insults, which give off hatred towards them. Without forgetting that there are very worrying episodes of racism; many times it is normalized and that cannot be. In football not everything goes”.

The journalist stressed the seriousness that “many young people are involved in episodes of racism, something that should not have a place in football, an area in which good values ​​must be transmitted, because thanks to them they have the ability to change society”. And she also has no doubts, “the media must denounce. The work that is done is insufficient, because there is the conception that anything goes. In short, zero tolerance, racism must be rooted out.” “It should be punished severely, be harsher and more forceful; also take measures with the parents if necessary. And the soccer players must denounce… It is everyone’s responsibility, ”she sentenced.

Begoña Villarrubia: “The media must denounce. The work that is being done is insufficient, because there is the conception that anything goes in football”

The second table, ‘Intervention and actions against racism in football’, was starred by Alberto Rodao (Commander of the Civil Guard of the Operations Section of the General Staff) and Stephen Ibarra (Movement against intolerance).

Conference on 'racism in football', organized by AFE

Conference on ‘racism in football’, organized by AFE

AFE

Remembering how in the 80s and 90s ultras groups broke into the world of football, Stephen Ibarra considers that “advance has been made in raising awareness”, noting that “in football, many radicalized groups sometimes drag thousands of people. The world of football and the street are communicating vessels”. He also recalled the role of the media, understanding that “pedagogy should have been done from them.” He is clear that “there is a pending issue, which is to achieve a universal law to protect the victim of hate. We must build a society based on concepts such as respect, accept, appreciate…”.

“As you said David Aganzo, we must be intransigent” in the face of this social scourge, stressed Ibarra, considering that “there has been permissiveness, for which I consider the rigorous application of laws, both state and regional, essential to avoid impunity for the guilty.”

How does the Civil Guard approach this problem? Alberto Rodao He explained that in two aspects, “one, focused on the perpetrators of the hate crime, and the other, on the victim”, pointing out that “there must be total intolerance towards actions of this type”. He wanted to value “agreements like the one we have with AFE, since there is no presence of the Civil Guard in many soccer fields.” “If a soccer player goes to the association to denounce a racist episode, we are there to help, show him the tools that he has at his disposal,” he added.

The Civil Guard commander also highlighted that “we created a working group to see how to improve the service to the victim. Attention, empathy, treatment of that victim is very important. Just like the clubs should be aware. Much progress has been made, but there is still a long way to go.”

Conference on 'racism in football', organized by AFE

Conference on ‘racism in football’, organized by AFE

AFE

To close this day, Maria Jose Lopez, By way of conclusion, he claimed “the role and protagonism of the Spanish Observatory of Racism and Xenophobia, that integrates all the actors involved in the world of sport because these issues cannot be trivialized”, pointing out “education” as a fundamental pillar to eradicate this type of scourges that stain sport. “AFE, by organizing this type of conference, shows its total commitment to fight against intolerance, understanding that it is an issue that affects us all”, alluding to finalize the support and adherence of our association to the ‘European Union Action Plan against racism’.



Gallery
David Aganzo, president of the AFE, during his appearance

Conference ‘Racism in football’, organized by AFE

AFE


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