Meeting in Madrid for the European project Sentry Sport


On 23 and 24 February, the penultimate international meeting of the Sentry Sport project, supported by the European Union's Erasmus+ Sport Programme and coordinated by UISP, took place in Madrid.

The meeting has been organised by the Spanish partner Red Deporte y Cooperacion, which deals not only with the fight against racism but also with international cooperation projects in South America and Saharawi. On the first day we were guests in their new office located in Barrio del Pilar, one of the most densely populated in Madrid and with a high percentage of different ethnic communities.

Present on behalf of UISP were Daniela Conti, head of Cooperation and Interculturality Policies; Marta Giammaria, head of the Projects Office; Marco Proto, lawyer and UISP Caserta collaborator; Davide Valeri, sociologist; and Nicola Tucci, administration of the project.

The meeting was important to plan the closure and dissemination of the last documents foreseen, in particular: the "Lessons learned” in these months of experimentation of the methodology proposed by the project; the "Policy Recommendations" with advices we want to leave to political decision-makers both at governmental level and within sports organisations at all levels.

The first comparison and collection of data show that it is absolutely necessary to work more and better on the issue of discrimination in sport. In fact, all the countries involved highlighted the same difficulty in collecting denounces: a lack of attention on the part of people to phenomena that are considered 'non-relevant', i.e. those that do not vent out in physical and verbal violence. Unfortunately, some disturbing attitudes or the use of non-discriminatory language is still not perceived as behaviour that can lead to exclusion and therefore to be dealt with firmly. Moreover, in some cases it was discussed how difficult it was for many educators to enter into a trusting relationship with victims, who need time both to recognise that they have been victims of discrimination (unless in striking cases) and to find the courage to tell their stories of marginalisation.

One of the actions that the partners agree are necessary is to work more and better on awareness-raising campaigns, training and education starting with sports clubs at all levels. It is absolutely necessary to work to ensure that all sports personnel (coaches, judges, managers) are trained and sensitive to all the facets that attitudes and language can have, in order to prevent exclusionary behaviour on and off the playing fields.

EFUS (European Forum for Urban Security) has the duty to elaborate the Policy Recommendations on the basis of the evidence brought by all partners. This document will be a kind of practical response to the lessons learnt during the project, which will be elaborated by UISP with the participation of all partners.

Finally, the International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA) presented the Sentry Sport video with the narration of 3 emblematic stories about exclusion in the world of sport due to gender, sexual orientation, and ethnic background. The video will be launched on all partners' social platforms in March on the occasion of the International Day Against Racism in Sport.

The results of the project and all the materials will be presented in the coming months in a series of events organised in each partner country, for Italy the initiative is scheduled in May in Rome.

"We are very satisfied with how the project is coming to an end, commented Daniela Conti, despite the difficulties of having started in the pandemic period that forced us to work for the first year only via web, in the end the consortium worked very well together. The partners all gave their input to complete each action, brought a lot of new expertise to the discussions, and we think that we can continue this kind of work in the future. In the meantime, we are really pleased with the materials we are producing, which can be downloaded from the international website and which we hope will be useful within all sports organisations for training update work at all levels."

Posted on 15/03/2023 by UISP

The SENTRY Sport project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This website reflects the views only of the author (UISP), and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.