September 09, 2023

"Our grandparents were slaves, our parents got jobs and today we're speaking at the biggest football event in Europe"

The fight against racism in football on the Arena Stage, with the participation of Helton Arruda, Marcos Senna, Mauro Silva and Euler Victor.


"Our grandparents were slaves, our parents got jobs and today we're speaking at the biggest football event in Europe". This was the (brilliant) conclusion of the Arena Stage panel at the beginning of this Saturday’s afternoon, which addressed one of the most controversial issues of our time: the fight against racism and the role that great personalities can play in this mission.

In a panel discussion moderated by Adalberto Almeida, CEO of Squadra Unique Sports, Helton Arruda, Ambassador of Liga Portugal, Marcos Senna, Ambassador of LaLiga, Mauro Silva, Vice-President of the Paulista Football Federation, and Euler Victor, President of Mover Futebol, reflected on how football leaders and icons can inspire positive change, promote diversity and inclusion, and challenge the stereotypes and stigmas that persist in this global sport.

"When we talk about diversity and inclusion, we are talking about a fairer society. I'm trying to help improve Brazilian football, not only the men's game, but also the women's game. We've done some very interesting work. We set up the Inclusion and Integrity Committee to promote diversity in competitions and organisations, especially with campaigns to make people aware of the democratisation of opportunities," Mauro Silva said, a view shared by Marcos Senna:

"I never thought in my wildest dreams that I'd end up where I am. I was born on the outskirts of São Paulo, so I was somewhat behind in comparison, but it was possible to be successful. When I was a kid, I had a few idols, including Mauro Silva, and with a lot of struggle, hard work and dedication, anything is possible. I have a big responsibility, partly because of my past as a player, and I always try to pass on the best values, especially to youngsters.

Helton, the Liga Portugal Ambassador, echoed his compatriot's sentiments, stressing the need for people to want to be helped. "I'm proud of the road I've travelled. Today, I'm still trying to pass on all the knowledge I've acquired and give people the opportunities they need, but people have to want them and show that they're capable of taking advantage of them. Often racism is in our heads and that's why we have to talk about what we are capable of, with the main aim of creating a fairer society," he explained.

Last but not least, Euler Victor, the author of the statement that opens this article, stressed the importance of sport in general and football in particular in the fight against racism. "I'm an example of how it's possible to live football without having been a professional player. Sport should be a tool for integration and change. There are several institutions that fight racism and promote equality, where everyone is on the same level. Nowadays, any black person is qualified for any position, they just need opportunities to show their work," he concluded.