Hungary: Racism must be uprooted
|Gibril Deen addressing the audience|
Cheer, don’t boo! – is the message of the conference organised on the elimination of exclusion. The Hungarian Football Association (HFA) and the Mahatma Gandhi Human Rights Organisation organised the conference “SPIN – Sport for Social Inclusion and for the Elimination of Racism in Football”.
It would be hypocrisy to state that racism does not exist in the world of sport in Hungary; therefore the lectures given by HFA shed light on this serious problem, and discuss it thoroughly from different viewpoints. Considering that on Monday more than 10 people spoke at the event organised at the HFA headquarters, it would be difficult to recap everything in detail that had been said, but concentrating on the main points we try to summarise the most important learning taken from the event.
Sándor Berzi, vice president of the Hungarian Football Association presented the UEFA ten points that summarise the most basic regulations against racism, emphasising prevention. The sport leader also warned the audience mentioning the fines involved, that apparently for supporter offences is a minimum of 20 000 Euro, players and officers proved guilty may be banned from one to five matches, and another penalty can be the closing of the playing field. Berzi pointed out that in every case so far in which the clubs appealed, the sports court has given their consent to the decision of the Association.
Péter Kovács, the security deputy director of HFA listed the different forms of racism and imparted that in the last season eight frontline clubs were fined for racist offences (mostly for booing at players with coloured skin). In his opinion, the phenomenon is significant; however, supporter feedback helps the work.
President of the fair play committee, György Szilágyi said that when compiling the fair play ranking, among others the conduct of supporters is also taken into consideration, thus in total DVSC finished first. The club director for Debrecen emphasised that the main problems (besides racism, cheatings in betting, doping, supporter violence) cannot be stopped by football and its bodies themselves only. Racism has its roots in society. This phenomenon discourages players and families from entering the stadium. The objective is the cooperation between all that play a role in football, raising awareness, as well as encouraging the community to exclude those instigating hatred.
The club leader also shared his experiences in Debrecen, namely that earlier there were banners with racist content, however, these became suppressed. There are still some racist comments shouted occasionally, but the situation is not serious. This is due to the organisational background of DVSC, the banners are strictly checked, and the security leader has a good relationship with the supporters, with whom he is in continuous correspondence. Of course, the results of the club are also influential, good performance calms down emotions.
Gibril Deen, leader of Mahatma Gandhi Human Rights Organisation is of the opinion that social inclusion can happen most through sport – migrants not only have to be accepted, but integrated also, and good sportsmen and women have to be acknowledged regardless of their skin colour. The Organisation tries to reach its goals by organising football tournaments, conferences, and cultural festivals. Sándor Hős, the director of the refugee reception centre in Bicske agrees with the previous statement, emphasising that there are a lot of talents among the refugees, six of them, for example, are playing in the sports school in Felcsút - led by the former national player, László Dajka – which gives sport opportunity for disadvantaged youth. Cultural anthropologist, Ibolya Tomory has also come to the conclusion after her experiences in East Africa that people of different cultures accept each other easier in the sports field.
István Mezei, the chair of the Hungarian Roma Team that won 114 out of its 116 matches, also spoke and said that the attitudes of the sport leaders is very important and that HFA gave enormous help to the team. Maccabi VAC president, Ádám Jusztin talked about the fact that Jewish professional sportsmen and women in Hungary have been really successful in the past, but nowadays most of them do not disclose their origin. The Foreign Policy, JHA and Human Rights Attaché of the British Embassy, Levente Nyitrai gave insight into the British situation, mentioning that regarding the latest cases even the political elite raised their voices saying that they will eliminate the problem all the way to its roots.