Diversity and anti-discrimination programme

Initiative description: Implementing FIFA’s standard measures and initiatives related to diversity and anti-discrimination.

FIFA is committed to delivering tournaments that are inclusive and free from discrimination. FIFA implemented a diversity and anti-discrimination programme, which included the following measures:

  1. Developing and implementing policies and procedures on diversity and anti-discrimination

  2. Carrying out diversity and anti-discrimination awareness-raising initiatives and other preventive mechanisms, including providing special information for spectators

  3. Delivering training on FIFA diversity and anti-discrimination policies and procedures – as well as ways to identify, prevent and react to incidents of discrimination – to staff, volunteers, referees, other match officials, stewards, and contracted staff working in sectors related to the FIFA World Cup 2022™, including food and beverage and security

  4. Delivering briefings on FIFA diversity and anti-discrimination policies and procedures for the participating member associations

  5. Implementing the operating procedure for discriminatory incidents at matches (three-step procedure) at all final tournament matches, as well as the Anti-Discrimination Monitoring System during the preliminary competition, any preparatory tournaments and at all final tournament matches

  6. Delivering of a social media protection service “Silence the Hate”

More information on these measures can be found in the public lecture Diversity and Anti-Discrimination in Sport (A FIFA Case Study).

Diversity and anti-discrimination training and awareness-raising

In preparation for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, FIFA delivered tailor-made training and briefings on human rights, anti-discrimination, and cultural sensitivity to all relevant workforce areas. Training recipients included security personnel, broadcast and media, hospitality staff and volunteers. 

The training provided basics on how to respect diversity and created awareness about intercultural communication within work teams and towards fans. Focus was also placed on preventing cultural misunderstandings, challenging biases and finding solutions in the event of miscommunication.

Case studies to identify acts of discrimination, raise awareness of microaggressions and the specificities of international fan culture were discussed with participants with the aim of preventing racial or any other kind of profiling based on physical or other visual characteristics while working at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.

Overall, the anti-discrimination and diversity training programme reached over 71,000 volunteers, staff, security personnel and contractors. More information on the different types of training provided and reach can be found on the capacity building and awareness-raising web page of this report. It is critical to highlight that more senior members of safety and security staff in directly involved in decision-making and problem-solving processes received in-person training (400 supervisors and senior supervisors and 62 other safety and security staff). In addition, they received a printed and digital copy of the third edition of the Global Guide to Discriminatory Practices in Football independently authored by the Fare network and commissioned by FIFA as expert material for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.

All FIFA employees received training videos, which they could watch on demand and which featured two two-hour workshops raising awareness of Arab culture and a webinar on anti-discrimination measures at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.

The training equipped staff, contractors and volunteers with the tools to foster an inclusive workforce and facilitate a positive experience for all participants throughout the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. 

To raise awareness among all tournament stakeholders, “No Discrimination” was a key pillar of “FIFA’s Football Unites the World” campaign that was promoted throughout the tournament and in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO). For more information, please visit the intercultural guidance web page of this report.

Diversity and anti-discrimination training videos

In-stadium Anti-Discrimination Monitoring System

Since the start of the qualifying rounds for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, FIFA has implemented an Anti-Discrimination Monitoring System. In collaboration with the Fare network, FIFA identifies the matches where it believes there is a high risk that discriminatory acts may occur. These high-risk matches are monitored by trained, neutral, anti-discrimination match observers who collect evidence and record and report all incidents of discrimination in real-time during the match and after, for which they provide a detailed report to the secretariat of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee.

The Anti-Discrimination Monitoring System was implemented during all high-risk matches at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualifiers and test events with the exception of the 2020 qualifiers. This was due to country-specific travel restrictions and restrictions on the attendance of spectators as a result of COVID-19. During the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ the Anti-Discrimination Monitoring System was implemented at all 64 matches (regardless of the risk level).

In total, 25 incidents were reported to the secretariat of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee during the qualifiers, two during the FIFA Arab Cup 2021™ test event, and 13 during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. FIFA publishes all the decisions rendered with grounds by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee. Decisions without grounds are published in a separate and combined document produced by the FIFA secretariat. For more information on decisions relating to discriminatory incidents, please visit: Decisions of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee.

Human Rights & Anti-discrimination Assessors

To complement the Anti-Discrimination Monitoring System and following the success of a pilot project during the FIFA Arab Cup 2021™, a Human Rights & Anti-Discrimination Assessor was present in the operational command centre at each stadium at all 64 FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ matches. These experts provided a human rights-focused assessment of flags, banners, posters and other items to minimise the risks of prohibited items and messages that might have been considered of a political, offensive or discriminatory nature frombeing displayed in the stadium, as well as ensuring that human rights and anti-discrimination messages covered by the FIFA human rights commitments could be displayed. These assessments were shared with the relevant FIFA match officials and security personnel. Over 18,000 banners, flags and other items were assessed via pre-applications by spectators and in real-time at the stadium gates by security with the help of the Human Rights & Anti-Discrimination Assessors. In addition, the Assessors conducted a visual check of the stadium bowl during all 64 FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ matches to identify any political, offensive and discriminatory flags, banners, posters and other items that had been smuggled in and were displayed by fans. In addition, 153 songs submitted by participating member associations to be played during warm-up, walkout and when goals were scored were assessed to ensure no offensive, political or discriminatory lyrics would be played at matches.

Diversity and anti-discrimination policies and procedures

Tournament organisers strived to create a discrimination-free environment throughout in all their activities. They did so by:

  • establishing an anti-discrimination tournament policy, two anti-discrimination procedures, and an infotainment kneeling protocol for players and coaches;

  • reviewing more than 60 other policies and procedures, including for safety and security and workforce-related matters;

  • sharing the FIFA Safeguarding and Anti-Discrimination Code of Conduct with all accredited individuals to be signed before accreditation was granted;

  • sharing a briefing on inclusive broadcasting and reporting at FIFA competitions with broadcasters and accredited media; and

  • creating a procedure for discriminatory incidents (see below).

Procedure for discriminatory incidents

Since the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017, FIFA has implemented a procedure for discriminatory incidents that occur during matches for all tournaments, including the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualifiers, test events and final tournament.

FIFA’s procedure for discriminatory incidents during football matches includes a pro-active stadium announcement before the match and a reactive stadium announcement without interrupting the match should a discriminatory incident occur. If these measures are unsuccessful or if a sudden serious discriminatory incident occurs the three-step procedure for referees is activated, as illustrated below.

The reactive stadium announcement had to be activated for the first time in FIFA history in two matches during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ (Match 07 and Match 47) due to discriminatory chanting by spectators. Discriminatory behaviour ceased after the announcements were made and did not reoccur during the remaining time of the matches.

Silence the Hate – social media moderation service

To tackle discrimination and to protect the mental health and well-being of players, FIFA and FIFPRO – the worldwide representative organisation for professional footballers – operated a social media protection service (SMPS) during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.

Through the SMPS, all 32 participating member associations at the FIFA World Cup 2022™ and their players, were offered access to a dedicated monitoring, reporting and moderation service designed to minimise the visibility of hate speech aimed at them on social media.

The SMPS covered five major social media platforms, namely Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube. Across the tournament, it monitored 1,890 accounts belonging to participating teams, players, coaches and officials around the clock and scanned more than 20 million posts/comments/replies. Following human review, 19,636 posts/comments/replies were verified as being abusive, discriminatory or threatening and then reported to the social media platform in question for further action. In many cases, the offending posts/comments/replies were removed as a result of FIFA's reporting.

Furthermore, through the moderation element of the service, 286,895 posts/comments/replies were automatically and instantly hidden and could not be seen by anyone – including the recipient and their followers.