September 09, 2023

"Fighting Discrimination and Abuse in Sport"

On the final day of the Thinking Football Summit, social responsibility issues were once again discussed with the panel "Fighting Discrimination and Abuse in Sport".

This session featured testimonies from Dolores Silva (SC Braga player), Paulo Fontes (APCVD Director of Security at Sporting Events) and Rosalía Ortega Pradillo (sports lawyer) and was moderated by Sónia Carneiro (former Executive Director of Liga Portugal).

With a focus on exploring strategies and challenges in the fight against discrimination and abuse in sport, key issues such as racism, gender discrimination, harassment and abuse were addressed and good practices and solutions were shared to promote equality and respect in sports venues, thus contributing to a fairer and more ethical sport. The case that marked the Women's World Cup was also one of the topics on the table. 

From this perspective, Rosalía Ortega Pradillo addressed the recent controversy surrounding the Spanish team's victory in the Women's World Cup, stressing the importance of having legal defence mechanisms in place. "It's a sensitive issue. I think it's unfortunate because, in the end, an event in which women's football was supposed to shine has been tarnished by this incident. When we talk about abuse and discrimination, we have defence mechanisms to activate and that's the good news. The sports lawyer emphasised that she believes there is still a lot of gender discrimination, using the example of what used to happen in women's football in this country. "I think there is still a lot of gender discrimination. For many years in Spain there was an anti-pregnancy clause in women's football contracts.

Dolores Silva, captain of the national team and SC Braga, highlighted the achievements of the Spanish team but regretted that they had been overshadowed by this controversy in the media. "It's a very sensitive issue and I think it's taken the shine off the Spanish players' achievement. They've certainly done a lot of pride for a country that has fought so hard for the development of women's football. For me, as a player, it's sad to see that the focus has been on this incident and not on their achievements. The Portugal international also left behind an important challenge for the future of women's football in Portugal. "I think that, above all, we must continue to value mutual respect. That's the basis of being human and something we should carry into our lives. The professionalisation of women's football would be important to protect the players.

Paulo Fontes, for his part, addressed legal issues relating to the fight against racism and xenophobia on the basis of APCVD legislation. "Law 39/2009, which aims to ensure security and combat racism, xenophobia and intolerance at sporting events, has undergone an amendment that will come into force tomorrow and allows us to work in a more specific way, involving the Commission for Citizenship and Equality. We are now in a position to understand the phenomenon better, so that we can also adopt a preventive approach. Another important detail is that the law already allows us to apply the accompanying sanctions or coercive measures provided for in this law".