With the last match of FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers played and the 32 teams headed to Russia confirmed, FIFA has also concluded that the first ever anti-discrimination monitoring system for the qualifiers was successful.
In collaboration with the Fare network, FIFA has assessed all 871 qualifying matches and deployed anti-discrimination observers to 177 matches with a higher risk of discriminatory incidents taking place. The system helped to facilitate the work of FIFA referees and disciplinary bodies in gathering additional evidence on incidences. It also sensitised Member Associations on discrimination in football and led to new local campaigns to promote diversity and fight discrimination in stadiums.
“We are very happy with the outcome of the system and how it has helped strengthen the enforcement of FIFA’s regulation against discrimination," said Federico Addiechi, FIFA head of Sustainability & Diversity. "But more importantly, it has led to an increased awareness about discrimination and new campaigns and projects to prevent it from happening. Ultimately, that is our goal in the fight against discrimination.”
Piara Powar, Executive Director of the Fare network, said: "For the first time in world football all incidents of discrimination at FIFA governed matches were systematically addressed. This has lead to greater awareness and numerous debates at national and international level. We now see FIFA member associations in all confederations addressing the issues of racism, sexism, homophobia and extreme nationalism."
The system was introduced by FIFA in May 2015 and coordinated with the Fare network, an organisation with long experience in the fight against discrimination in football and the deployment of match observers. Match observers were deployed to support referees and FIFA match commissioners during selected matches with a higher risk of discriminatory incidents taking place. Overall, 140 match observers and 350 match commissioners were trained on the new system.
To reinforce its fight against discrimination at its competitions, FIFA introduced a new three-step procedure in case of discriminatory incidents and also deployed anti-discrimination observers at all matches of the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017. To support this work, FIFA commissioned the Fare network to produce the first Global Guide to Discriminatory Practices in Football. The three-step procedure for referees as well as the monitoring of discrimination at the matches will continue at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Discrimination and exclusion affect society at large, and football is no exception. FIFA’s strategy to fight discrimination in football also includes a Good Practice Guide on Diversity and Anti-Discrimination, an annual FIFA Diversity Award that recognises outstanding organisations that are standing up for diversity, and the collaboration with its Member Associations to educate and inspire a message of equality and respect.
For more information on FIFA's strategy against discrimination, please also see the background document.