Racism widespread in Irish sport, says campaigner

THERE are weekly incidents of racial abuse in Irish sports, an anti-racism campaigner has claimed.

Ken McCue, International Officer of Sport against Racism Ireland (SARI), hopes the high-profile cases involving John Terry and Luis Suarez leads to greater awareness of the issue but believes organisations in this country need to be more proactive in dealing with cases of abuse.

McCue said: “I hope people here will learn from these events in England and what is going on. This isn’t an issue confined to English football. This is happening around the world. And is occurring in Ireland every week.”

He claimed: “We have a queue of cases from a number of sports from grassroots level up. We get reports week in, week out but sadly there is very little being done about it. We believe there should be a lot more prosecutions and fines, along with a greater education and awareness of racism.”

McCue revealed that SARI had contacted the governing bodies of more than 60 Irish sports, asking them to include an ‘anti-discrimination’ clause in their codes of governance which was recommended in an EU White Paper on Sport.

McCue revealed the contract David Villa signed when he joined Barcelona included such a clause, which stipulates “the player will not express or carry out, in any form, discriminatory ideas or acts, either during football games or in any club duties. The club will strongly condemn any discriminatory or racist act according to the agreement.” Since then all Barca players sign such a contract. However there was little appetite for such a contract by Irish organisations, he claimed

“We received no positive feedback at all. Only 22 of the 60-odd sports bodies responded to us and none of them wanted to get involved because they felt it was too political. Only six of the 60 had even heard of the White Paper despite the fact that (former GAA President) Sean Kelly has been one of the driving forces behind it.

“The attitude to racism by Irish sports is benign.”

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