31 May 2022 | Hybrid format: Online from Strasbourg

Organised by the Council of Europe's Sport Division

The "Combating Hate Speech in Sport" joint project is co-funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe and implemented by the Council of Europe.


Sport brings people together. It contributes to health and well-being, breaking down barriers and building trust and community spirit. However, it can also exacerbate tensions or rivalries and foster discrimination against certain categories of the population, contrary to international standards, obligations and principles on fighting racism and discrimination.

Although both the European Union and the Council of Europe have developed regulatory frameworks in this field, sports events are still far too often the theatre of ominous scenes of racism, homophobia, sexism and other manifestations of hate speech. On some occasions, such incidents also degenerate into physical violence involving supporters and result in the event itself being disrupted. The risk of incidents of this kind also forces some organisers to limit the access of supporters to sports events, or to deny access altogether. Every instance of hate speech is unacceptable behaviour which must be prevented and addressed.

However, public authorities and sports organisations face major challenges when trying to address this phenomenon. Key stakeholders (such as supporters’ organisations) are rarely involved in the discussion and often there is not enough co-operation between public authorities, the various competent bodies in this area and sports organisations.

The "Combating Hate Speech in Sport" joint project aims to explore innovative approaches to tackle the problem. By providing technical assistance to public authorities in member states and other sport stakeholders, we hope to develop effective, comprehensive strategies within a human rights framework.

 Objectives of the conference

The conference gave the opportunity to:

  • consider the current situation concerning hate speech in sport in Europe via an overview, examine innovative ways in which it is addressed in different countries, tendencies and directions of development;
  • present some of the existing practices and projects addressing hate speech in sport in selected countries;
  • provide visibility and raise awareness on the joint project funded by the European Commission and the Council of Europe and implemented by the Council of Europe; and
  • develop a network of expertise and co-operation for the project’s implementation.


Target audience

The conference brought together authorities from a wide range of sectors:

  • Council of Europe and European Commission representatives from relevant departments;
  • representatives of the Committee on Safety and Security at Sports Events (T-S4) and of the EPAS Governing Board and Consultative Committee;
  • public authorities (representatives from sports ministries);
  • international and national sports organisations;
  • athletes, coaches and supporters exposed to hate speech in their sport environments; and
  • experts and researchers who have carried out case studies on the subject of hate speech in sport.

Experts and representatives of partner organisations from the sports movement will be welcome to attend the conference remotely.



Programme Programme

Opening of the conference

Introductory statements from:

  • Jeroen Schokkenbroek (Council of Europe)
  • Tamas Szücs (European Commission)

Session 1 – State of play in project partner countries

Introductory presentations

Panel discussion moderated by Irena Guidikova (Council of Europe)

Session 2 – Addressing hate speech in sport: current policies

Introductory presentations

Questions and answers

Panel discussion moderated by Irena Guidikova (Council of Europe)

Session 3 – Inspiring initiatives to combat hate speech

Introductory presentations

Panel discussions moderated by Francine Hetherington Raveney (Council of Europe)

Closing of the conference

Closing statement from Sophie Kwasny (Council of Europe)