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Dutch soccer fans encouraged to report racism via app

The Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) and the government have presented a €14 million concept to tackle racism in football. The action plan entitled “Our football belongs to everyone” includes tougher penalties, stronger video surveillance and an app that allows stadium visitors to report racist acts.

Published: February 12, 2020, 9:11 am

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    The Hague

    The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam is also developing “fair play workshops” against racism for teenagers in schools.

    “We make it easier for players, clubs and fans to report discriminatory statements. We make it easier to collect evidence so that the perpetrators can be punished more quickly,” the KNVB explains its strategy. A total of 20 measures are planned.

    In the app, fans will be able to anonymously report “all forms of discrimination”. “By filling out a questionnaire, leaving a recorded message or uploading a photo,” all reports will be registered and forwarded to the KNVB. The app is based on the model of an existing application software in England.

    The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports is also promoting improved camera systems and other stadium security measures. For this purpose, 87 million euros would be made available annually. The identified perpetrators face up to a ten year ban in the stadium. An “explicit focus” is on “punishments that lead to more awareness and a change in behavior,” the plan noted.

    The association also intends to train soccer trainers and referees and to raise awareness of the issue of racism. It is important “when positive behavior is rewarded and good examples are staged”. Before the start of the next season, some 5 000 referees and 65 employees are to receive anti-racism instruction.

    Racist chants against an Excelsior Rotterdam player last November prompted the actions of the Dutch government and the football association.

    Together with clubs, players, coaches, referees and politicians, the projects aimed to create “a front against racism and discrimination”. Some 600 amateur clubs and 34 professional clubs will take part in the programme over the next three years.

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