The fight against antisemitism in football: signing a declaration of intent

To bring concreteness to the fight against antisemitism inside and outside the stadiums: this is the aim of the declaration of intent that was signed on 27th June 2023 at the Viminale, during a ceremony in which took part representatives of the institutions and of the Jewish world. An agreement with “great symbolic value and much more, for the world of sport, and for the values that it embodies and that it has evoked”. These are the words of the domestic affairs minister Matteo Piantedosi, who signed the declaration along with Andrea Abodi, the minister delegate for Sport and Youth, and Giuseppe Pecoraro, the national coordinator for the fight against antisemitism.
The document was also signed by the president of Federcalcio Gabriele Gravina, represented at the ceremony by the general secretary Marco Brunelli. “There is plenty to do, I am very pleased with this initiative”, the minister Piantedosi said while introducing a few guidelines that were approved by the signers: from the centrality of the definition of antisemitism given by the IHRA, to the ways in which the matches will be interrupted in case of episodes of hate crime, to the enhancement of the proactive attitude of the clubs.
Among the points on the list, there is the intention of banning the shirt number 88 in order to avoid possible exploitations by neo-Nazi groups.
Minister Abodi said that the most urgent matter “is to move from words to actions with a series of measures that are comprehensive in their simplicity in relation to the cultural advances we want to make”. Starting with football as a first step, “but including also other sports federations”. A document that is “concrete and that can give great results”, Pecoraro commented.
“The societies will have to implement it appropriately, the time of the litanies of condemnation is over”, the former prefect of Rome added. According to Brunelli, the declaration constitutes “a starting point on behalf of the whole football world”. The people who worked on the drafting of the document were praised for their “concreteness and promptness” by the president of the UCEI Noemi Di Segni, reporting from Jerusalem.
She then pointed out that the slogan “A kick to racism” sums up the goal of this challenge. In this regard, she said: “the example Italy will give on an international scale is very important”. The initiative took place a few days after the conference “L’antisemitismo nello sport” (Anti-Semitism in sport) that was held in the Sala del Refettorio at the Camera dei Deputati. Pecoraro, who gave a statement to Pagine Ebraiche on the meaning of this agreement, explained that he expects an “adequate publication and dissemination, which will enable us to ensure that such episodes never happen again: in fact, our document serves also as a deterrent”. He said that, at the same time, there is “the duty to carry out a cultural activity to encourage as much as possible a healthy and peaceful environment inside the stadiums”.

Translation by Sofia Busatto, revised by Annadora Zuanel, students at the Secondary School of Modern Languages for Interpreters and Translators of the University of Trieste, interns at the newspaper office of the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities – Pagine Ebraiche.