Sports should be a place for social inclusion, and a place where you can experience joy regardless of who you are, or your background. Nevertheless, we are constantly
Sports should be a place for social inclusion, and a place where you can experience joy regardless of who you are, or your background. Nevertheless, we are constantly reminded that we still have a way to go when it comes to diversity and inclusion in the sports area. Football is often referred to as homophobia’s “last bulwark”. There are many stories about queer football players who have quit playing, and there are few open professional football players in Norway. In October 2020, an incident with the football player Flamur Kastrati caused a great debate, after he called an opponent the Norwegian equivalent of “fucking faggot”. Kastrati later apologized for the statement and became an ambassador for the queer organization Salam.
During the spring and summer of 2020, several examples of racism in Norwegian sports were highlighted. Based on this, Professor Elsa Kristiansen and Lasse Sonne at the University of Southeast Norway, examined the conditions in Norwegian sports federations, and concluded that the sports to a limited extent reflects society in general, and that there are “tendencies to structural racism” in Norwegian sports. The report revealed that among the Norwegian Sports Confederation’s 55 federations, only 16 had regulations on racism. Furthermore, it showed a lack of funds to combat racism and discrimination in sports, and a lack of training in the areas anti-discrimination and racism.
Why is it still difficult for minorities to be open in sports? How can the Norwegian sports federations work to become more diverse and inclusive, and make more people feel welcome? And how can we ensure that the sports are a safe and joyful area for everyone?
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