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Sport: Effective participation of minorities in sport

Key Area:
Public Life, Culture, Sport & Media
Discrimination, Equality
19/01/2012 - 14:56
Short Answer

Members of minority communities in Slovenia (holding Slovenian citizenship) are formally entitled to participate in sports and sport competitions on all levels. In practice, the scope of participation is higher in certain sports and almost nonexistent in others.

Qualitative Info

There is a number of indicators of high participation of members of minority communities such as minorities from former Yugoslavia and also Roma, in football clubs and competitions on all levels, including the national team.

On the other hand the participation of members of minority communities in alpine skiing - which is considered a national sport  - is almost non-existant.

The studies mostly explore that phenomenon considering the role of specific sports in nation buidling. According to the studies, the perceived features of the Slovenian national character, such as, for example, diligence, discipline, honesty and courage, were attached to skiing, while football remained a practice belonging to the Balkans and characteristic of immigrants, originating from the republics of the former Yugoslavia. However, with the tremendous success of the Slovenian national team, qualifying for the Euro 2000 and World Cup 2002, the football became a celebrated feature of the national character also, but the fact that the team has been composed of a substantial number of players by origin from former Yugoslavia was not used as a tool for inclusion and celebrating diversity and contribution of players with minority background, but instead football was perceived as a tool for the transformation of indisciplinable immigrants into "real" Slovenians.

There are many Roma football clubs on the local level, some of them competing with other clubs in the 3rd Slovenian football league. In the season 2008/2009 it happened that a Roma club qualified for participation in the 3rd league to compete with other non-Roma clubs, but could not participate because the infrastructure, including the size of the playground was not in accordance with the regulation. Later, they managed to improve the infrastructure and qualitfied for the competition in the 3rd league. Recently, the Roma Sports Association has been established by a senior Roma football player.


Article "Šport kot socialna arena nacije v Sloveniji" (Sports as a social arena of a national idea in Slovenia), published in the scientific journal Razprave in gradivo, No. 50-51/2006, and  with English abstract at Date of acces: 19.1.2012.

Racism, ethnic discrimination and exclusion of migrants and minorities in sport: A comparative overview of the situation in the European Union, 2010, Date of access: 19.1.2012.

Preventing racism, xenophobia and related intolerance in sport across the European Union, Country Report Slovenia, 2009, Peace Institute.

Article "Platini enthusiastic about Roma in Slovenia", Slovenian Press Agency, 26.7.2011, Date of access: 19.1.2012.

Groups affected/interested Roma & Travelers, National minorities
Type (R/D) Anti-roma/zinghanophobia, Nationalism, Xenophobia
Key socio-economic / Institutional Areas Sport
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