Preventing racism, xenophobia and related intolerance in sport across the European Union. FRA Report 2009’ COSPE - RAXEN NFP ITALY

Two key pieces of legislation are identified as defining the context in which the situation of racism and ethnic discrimination in Italy can be analysed. This is because both legislations – the law on citizenship and the immigration law – play a very important role in the pace of integration or exclusion of migrants from sports. The immigration law introduced in 2002 provided for an annual maximum quota of non-EU players and athletes to be allowed into the country for professional and paid sports activities. This constitutes a first limitation on access by long-term resident non-EU citizens as they are treated, with regard to the provision above, as if they were not already in the country. Further institutional barriers are added through the internal regulations of the various Federations which set a number of criteria that should be met by any prospective non-EU athlete or player wishing to register with the Federation. These regulations are particularly strict for amateur sport as they are said to be aimed at protecting young Italian athletes and players.

Manifestations of racism, xenophobia and related intolerance in sports are still scarcely documented, making it difficult to have a clear picture of the situation in all sports. The national Observatory on Sports Events focuses only on violence but does not address racist violence as such; consequently, it does not collect data on this dimension. Requests for data sent to the Observatory and the National Office against Racial discrimination had not had any reply at the time of closing the report. In the absence of official data, information on racism and ethnic discrimination in sports have been collected from the limited NGO sources that have in recent years tried to monitor the problem, amidst economic difficulties that hinder continuing such work systematically and for long periods. Online media archives have also been used to identify some cases of racism that received media attention.