Building peace in the minds of men and women

UNESCO Director-General and French Sport Minister issue joint declaration against racism in Sport

08 January 2018


© Hervé HAMON

Paris, 08 Janaury, The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, and the Minister of Sport of France, Laura Flessel, condemned the racist slurs that clouded the world of football over the weekend.

“Racism has no place on the playing fields of sport or outside them. We condemn without reserve the racist slurs directed at Blaise Matuidi, who plays for the Juventus Football Club of Turin and for France’s National Team. We denounce all the racist acts that regularly mar sporting events around the world. Sport must remain a vector of excellence, mutual understanding and tolerance. Nothing can justify the use of sport to fuel hatred, discrimination and rejection.”

UNESCO and Juventus Football Club have been partners in the fight against racism since 2014. UNESCO’s 2015 report, Colour? What Colour? takes stock of the situation in both amateur and professional football with recommendations for future action. The Gioca con me initiative furthermore enables children from underprivileged backgrounds to take part in an annual training programme operated by the Juventus Academy.

On this occasion, France and UNESCO reiterate their commitment to support the values of tolerance in and through sport. France is also actively engaged in the work of the International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport (MINEPS), organized by UNESCO. The country intends to play a leading role in the implementation of the Action Plan adopted at the latest session, MINEPS VI, with a view to reinforcing sport education policies, the fight against doping and the transmission of the values of respect, ahead of its hosting of the 2024 Olympic Games.

“People are not born racist, they become racist. Millions of passionate people follow sport and football whose purpose is to bring out what is best in us, and serve education for tolerance and respect. We call on all those responsible for sport policy at all levels to rally around this important cause,” the Minister and the Director-General declared.




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Media Contact: Agnès Bardon, UNESCO Media Section +33 (0) 1 45 68 1764,