Global Watch in bid to halt racism in sport
A GLOBAL summit aimed at eradicating racism and discrimination in sport will feature a host of international sports federations and high profile speakers in Johannesburg next Thursday.
Founder of Global Watch, businessman Tokyo Sexwale, said yesterday the International Olympic Committee, the United Nations, and Fifa would all be represented at the two-day summit.
“Global Watch is a call to action – for right-thinking people in the whole world to take a stand,” Sexwale said at the summit launch in Johannesburg.
“The time has come for people to be respected, not to be insulted. People don’t know where to go when they have been racially abused.”
Sexwale said the aim of the summit was to produce a charter, setting basic principles against racism on sports fields globally.
“The summit is going to be talking about a barometer, something that will measure that charter. Each year there will be a release about which countries are doing what. You don’t want to find yourself in the red. All we’re doing is making sure that federations and organisations are forced to implement their own rules.”
The ANC stalwart said he had been part of formalising measures against racism in sport since 2006, when he joined Fifa’s “Say No to Racism” campaign.
“We thought this thing ‘racism’ would subside. It’s getting worse.”
Closest to home was an incident involving South African soccer player Siyanda Xulu, who plays for Russian club FC Rostov.
Earlier this month the defender refused to attend training after his coach Igor Gamula said the club had “enough dark-skinned players, we’ve got six of the things” in answer to a question on whether Cameroonian Benoit Angbwa would be joining the club.
Gamula went on to say that five of his Russian players were ill with a high temperature and joked that the Ebola epidemic was the cause. Sexwale commended Xulu for taking a stand. Meanwhile, SA Football Association president Danny Jordaan has given his backing to the project.
“You cannot have individual responses even when racism targets individuals – you need an organisational response,” Jordaan said.
“One thing that we can all celebrate as South Africans is that the world has looked to South Africa to take leadership on this very complex challenge that the world faces.
“I’m happy to be part of this process and organisation that has the courage to move beyond words.”
The Confederation of African Football (Caf) say a new hosting country for the Africa Cup of Nations will be named in the next two or three days.
In comments published yesterday by the African soccer body from an interview with French television station France 24, Caf president Issa Hayatou also says that delaying the tournament would have been like signing a “death warrant” for the sport in Africa.
Morocco were dumped as hosts on Tuesday because they wanted to postpone the tournament over Ebola fears. Hayatou says a delay would have affected commercial agreements with sponsors and players may not have been released by their clubs to play in a re-scheduled tournament. – Sapa/Sapa-AP