As FIFA prepared to enter a World Cup year, the fight against discrimination of all kinds was as prominent and important as ever. 2021 was a year of preparation and implementation for the organisation – with much progress made in delivering the message that there is no place for prejudice in the beautiful game.
In 2021, the work on diversity and anti-discrimination focused in particular on preparations for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. The FIFA Good Practice Guide on Diversity and Anti-Discrimination sets out a five-pillar strategy, outlining education, regulations, controls and sanctions, networking and engagement, and communications as the tools to foster and promote anti-discrimination.
Within that framework falls the FIFA Anti-Discrimination Monitoring System, a key tool in FIFA’s fight again discrimination that was first implemented during the qualification process for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. It enables FIFA, officials and authorities to identify discriminatory behaviour at FIFA competitions.
Already being deployed at high-risk qualification matches for the FIFA World Cup 2022, specially trained anti-discrimination match observers attended high-risk matches at the FIFA Arab Cup and, in cooperation with the Fare network, compiled incident reports for FIFA.
In addition, numerous other activities were conducted to ensure an inclusive and safe environment for everyone, these included:
delivering diversity and anti-discrimination training that was tailored to all venue-specific personnel, from stewards and volunteers up to referees and other FIFA match officials;
supporting stadium security staff with the deployment of anti-discrimination experts at all matches to help prevent discriminatory displays by spectators both outside and inside the stadium;
implementing the three-step procedure that was established in 2017 to halt and, in the worst-case scenario, abandon matches as a consequence of discriminatory behaviourin addition to providing in-stadium announcements on anti-discrimination; and
setting up the human rights grievance mechanism and implementing a human rights volunteer programme to learn about potential issues.
With the upcoming FIFA World Cup also in mind, the tournament-related core stakeholder group on inclusion and anti-discrimination, which includes inter-governmental as well as non‑governmental organisations and supporters, convened to help shape and discuss the anti‑discrimination programme.
“There is no place for discrimination in football or in society. As the governing body of football worldwide, FIFA recognises and embraces its responsibility to lead the fight against discrimination.”