The Minister for Assistance for Youth and Sports of the Wallonia Brussels Federation, Rachid Madrane, said on Monday in La Libre Belgique that he had previously been stopped and questioned by the authorities. This was in respect of radicalisation in sports clubs.
Mr Madrane indicated, “This abuse, although limited, does indeed appear to exist. This is, in particular, the case in clandestine locations, where combat training takes place. Such training is used both to recruit and radicalise youngsters.” He does, however, guard against “generalising” but asks that everyone “be attentive to this fact.”
The Socialist minister laments that sport, although a tool for social integration, can become “the vehicle for extremist ideas, whatever form they take.”
However, he acknowledges being confronted with several obstacles, particularly when the practice of combat sports happens without the knowledge of the authorities. He goes on, “We have no power of injunction over clubs or trainers who may not be linked to a federation. Neither have we, as a sports authority, the power to intervene directly in sports facilities, and even less so to close them.”
A specific charter was proposed and agreed to by eight sports and martial arts federations, emphasising the rejection of all radical violent views. Madrane says, “The signed version of the charter is now displayed in all clubs within these federations.”