Sports governance has emerged around the world. However, local and international sports managers are slow to understand the extent of their injury.
The tectonic plates underlying the sport’s guiding principle that sport and politics are irrelevant have changed, driven by the fight against racism and the pursuit of human rights and social justice.
This principle has been repeatedly challenged by athletes and companies over the past year, forcing national and international sports federations to either support protest against racism, or at least refrain from punishing athletes who use their sport to resist racism and human rights. By definition, they are political acts.
The assault on what is considered true fiction began in the United States as a result of the explosion of Black Lives Matter protests on the streets of American cities, as well as the fact that unlike the fan club relationship in most parts of the world, American sports clubs and federations consider fans to be clients, and the client is king.
The attack traveled to Europe last month with shirts in Norway, Germany and the Netherlands during the 2022 World Cup qualifiers to support human rights and change. Europeans are adding their voices to ongoing criticism of the rights of migrant workers in Qatar, host of next year’s World Cup.
England director Gareth Southgate said the Football Association is discussing human rights with Amnesty International on the rights of migrants in the Gulf state.
While Qatar is the focus in Europe, more human rights sensitivity appears to be moving further. Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton told a press conference in Bahrain ahead of the Grand Prix opening this season, “There are problems all over the world, but I don’t think we should go to these countries and ignore what is happening in them. Those places. Get there, get there,” Spend time. Enjoy and then leave. “
Hamilton has played a prominent role in speaking out against racial injustice and social inequality since the US National Football League endorsed Black Lives Matter and players on their knees as they played the US national anthem in protest of racism.
In grave breach of the ban on “any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images” on the pitch, FIFA said it would not take any disciplinary action against European players. A FIFA spokesman said, “FIFA believes in freedom of expression and the power of football as a good force.”
The statement was a tacit admission that defending human rights and social justice is political in nature. It raises the question of how to reconcile FIFA’s stance on human rights with its legal ban on political expression.
It makes the imagination of the separation between politics and sport more difficult than ever, and opens the door to a debate about how to organize the inseparable relationship between sport and politics at the hip, like the Siamese twin.
In a sign of the possible collapse of the storm barrier, the Major League Baseball League this month said it will move the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta in response to a new Georgian law that threatens to limit voting rights for people of color.
In a shot across the arc to FIFA and other international sports federations, the major Georgia-based companies, including Coca Cola, one of football’s oldest sponsors, along with Delta Airlines and Home Depot, have taken political stances in their condemnation of Georgia. Law.
The greater assertiveness of athletes and companies in speaking out about fundamental rights and against racism and discrimination will make it difficult for sports federations to support imagination to separate politics from sport.
The willingness of FIFA, the US Olympic Committee and the Paralympic Committee (USOPC) and other national and international federations to look the other way when athletes bring their support for rights and social justice into the sports arena has pushed the ghost out of the bottle. He broke the leg of FIFA’s principle that “players’ equipment must not bear political, religious or personal slogans.”
In fact, the US Commission said it would not penalize US athletes who choose to raise their fists or kneel on the podium at the Tokyo Olympics in July, as well as future tournaments.
The decision puts USOPC at odds with strict IOC law against political protest.
The International Olympic Committee suspended and banned U.S. medal winners Tommy Smith and John Carlos after contestants raised their fists on the podium at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics to protest racial inequality in the United States.
The recognition of the incest relationship between sport and politics will ultimately require a charter or code of conduct that governs the relationship and provides a form of independent oversight, similar to overseeing the regulation of the banking or water sector in Britain, alongside the United States. . The only country that has privatized water as an asset.
Human rights and social justice have emerged as links that could break the myth of the division between sport and politics. If athletes take their protests to the Tokyo Olympics and World Cup 2022 in Qatar, the legend will deal a heavy blow to the body.
“Preventing athletes from freely expressing their views during competitions, especially those belonging to historically underrepresented groups, contributes to the dehumanization of athletes,” said a statement by US athletes seeking changes to USOPC law prohibiting protesting against sporting events. It runs counter to the major Olympic Games and Paralympic values. “
(Disclaimer: The opinions of the author do not represent the views of WION or ZMCL. Neither WION nor ZMCL endorses the views of the author.)