ProBonoMatters sets out to monitor FIFA anti-discrimination campaign


ProBonoMatters, a new media platform that serves public good, has launched a campaign to monitor and hold accountable FIFA, in its promise to cast out discriminations from the game of football in the run up to the 2018 World Cup in Russia and beyond.

ProBonoMatters’ founder Sibonelo Radebe said the campaign is born out of concern that FIFA’s anti-discriminatory initiative seems to be one of papering over the cracks. And ProBonoMatters is of the view that this campaign deserves much more scrutiny than it has received over the years, if it is to yield meaningful results.

ProBonoMatters’ will monitor and highlight FIFA’s anti-discrimination activity. The campaign is anchored by the formation of a new online communication channel focused on FIFA. The channel itself is pillared by a global reaching incident monitoring and reporting system.

A systemic approach

ProBonomatters will also collect, collate, analyse and report incidences of discrimination in and around the footballing game, with a particular focus on FIFA games. This will be complemented by robust editorial features –news and views.

At the centre of all this rests a social network being carved by ProBonoMatters that connects with key stakeholders from around the globe. These include, news media, players, agents, referees, fans, clubs, NGOs, activists, associations etc.

ProBonoMatters acknowledges the recent work done by FIFA and its partner, the Farenetwork, in fighting discrimination around the game of billions. These include:

Opening up the conversation

Radebe added that “ProBonoMatters embarks on its mission on the back of a suspicion that the FIFA initiatives and the narratives there of may have been shaped by closed conversations when they needed to be informed by the victimised masses who anchor the game of billions.  And we see a tendency to sweep issues under the rug.

“FIFA has also shown irresponsible hastiness around its initiatives to score brownie points. This is well represented in the hasty decision to shut down the anti-racism task force in 2016. The haste continued last year with FIFA declaring its anti-discrimination monitoring system, piloted during the qualifiers of the 2018 World Cup in Russia a success. We know many people who hold a different view. We think that these hasty FIFA PR postures amount to an irresponsible act amidst the face of relentless racism that dogs the game of football.”

Radebe said “We also have questions surrounding FIFA’s three-step procedure of dealing with discriminatory incidents in a game, and in particular FIFA’s resolve to apply the procedure.

“And so we rise to open up the conversation. We are not interested in having a dialogue with FIFA but we are setting out to facilitate a truly open and democratic conversation.

“Our move is partly informed by a concern that Russia and the broader eastern European regions come with a particularly bad record in terms of occurrence of discriminatory incidences in and around footballing games. As such it must be subjected to a robust monitoring system.”

“We have on our radar forms of discrimination like, anti-semitism, homophobia, islamophobia, racism, sexism, xenophobia etc.”

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