The governance of sport in the world is the result. However, local and international sports officials are slow to understand the extent of their injury.
The tectonic plates that underpin 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 called into question several times by athletes and companies over the past year, forcing national and international sports federations to support demonstrations against racism or at least refrain from punishing athletes who use their sport to resist racism and human rights. are by definition political acts.
The attack on what is considered real fiction began in the United States following the explosion of Black Lives Matter protests on the streets of American cities, as well as the fact that, unlike fan relations -club in most parts of the world, American sports federations and clubs consider fans to be customers, and the customer is king.
The attack moved to Europe last month, with t-shirts in Norway, Germany and the Netherlands, during the 2022 World Cup qualifiers in support of human rights and change. Europeans are adding their voice to the continued criticism of the rights of migrant workers in Qatar, the host country of next year’s World Cup.
England director Gareth Southgate said the Football Association was discussing human rights with Amnesty International over the rights of migrants in the Gulf country.
While Qatar is the center of attention in Europe, greater human rights awareness seems to go further. Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton said at a press conference in Bahrain ahead of the opening of the Grand Prix this season: “There are problems all over the world, but I don’t think we should go into these. country and ignore what is going on in the world. these places. , go ahead, spend some time. Have fun then go. “
Hamilton has been at the forefront of speaking out against racial injustice and social inequality since the American National Football League approved Black Lives Matter and players kneeling on their knees play the U.S. national anthem to protest the racism.
In dramatic violation of the ban on “any slogans, statements, political, religious or personal images” on the pitch, FIFA said it would not take any disciplinary action against European players. “FIFA believes in freedom of expression and in the power of football as a good force,” a FIFA spokesperson said.
The declaration was a tacit admission that the defense of human rights and social justice is political in nature. This raises the question of how FIFA has reconciled its position on human rights with its legal ban on political expression.
This makes it harder than ever for the imagination to separate politics and sport and opens the door to a debate on how to organize the inseparable relationship that combines sport and fashionable politics, like the Siamese twins.
A sign that the storm surge barrier may have collapsed, the Major League Baseball League announced this month that it will move the 2021 All Star Game from Atlanta in response to a new Georgian law that threatens to limit the voting rights of people of color.
In a shot through the arc at FIFA and other international sports federations, major Georgia-based companies, including Coca Cola, one of football’s oldest sponsors, along with Delta Airlines and Home Depot, have taken political positions to condemn Georgia. Law.
The greater assertiveness of athletes and businesses to speak out on fundamental rights and against racism and discrimination will make it difficult for sports federations to sustain the imagination to separate politics and sport.
The willingness of FIFA, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) and other national and international federations to look the other way when athletes support rights and social justice in the sports arena has brought out the ghost from the bottle. He broke the leg of FIFA’s principle that “player equipment should not carry political, religious or personal slogans”.
Indeed, the US commission has said it will not punish 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 move puts the USOPC at odds with the IOC’s strict law against political protests.
The International Olympic Committee suspended and banned US medalists Tommy Smith and John Carlos after runners raised their fists on the podium at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics to protest racial inequality in the United States.
Recognizing the incest relationship between sport and politics will eventually require a charter or code of conduct that regulates the relationship and provides some form of independent oversight, similar to oversight of banking or banking sector regulation. water in Great Britain, with the United States. . The only country that has privatized water as an asset.
Human rights and social justice have emerged as links that can shatter the myth of the divide between sport and politics. If the athletes were to bring their protests to the Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the legend would deal a heavy blow to the body.
A statement from US athletes calling for changes to USOPC law banning demonstrations at sporting events said: “Prohibit athletes from freely expressing their views during competitions, especially those belonging to groups historically under -represented, contributes to the dehumanization of athletes. It goes against the most important Olympic Games. and Paralympic values. “
(Disclaimer: The views of the author do not represent the views of WION or ZMCL. Neither WION nor ZMCL endorses the views of the author.)