Belgian football clubs must follow anti-racism manual to fight fan harassment
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Belgian football clubs must follow anti-racism manual to fight fan harassment

Charleroi midfield player Ilaimaharitra left the field in tears after a racist incident. Credit: Belga

The Belgian Pro League organisation has presented a manual for all its football clubs against racist and discriminatory chants in Brussels.

The association of professional football clubs advised all clubs to act preventively, but also to act repressively. “We want to create awareness that discrimination has no place in our stadiums,” said Stijn Van Bever, the co-author and spokesperson, reports Bruzz.

The Pro League has been working for a year and a half on the manual, that mainly focusses on prevention and punishments. The guidelines have to help football clubs to ban racism and discrimination from their football stadiums.

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Racist incidents related to Belgian football over the last weeks included monkey noises from fans whenever Romelu Lukaku got the ball during a game in Italy, and the Nazi salute a fan of KV Mechelen did to Charleroi player Marco Ilaimaharitra.

The manual is 60 pages long and based on three main pillars: prevention, punishment, and courses, according to Van Bever. “It is up to the clubs to make it clear that discriminatory comments or chants do not have a place in or around the stadium, or more generally at the club,” he said, reports Le Soir.

“If racist or discriminatory statements still occur, the fans must be identified and sanctioned. The punished fans must then follow classes before they are allowed back into the stadium,” he added.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times