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Sport: Is hate speech ground for sanctions to sport clubs and applied/applicable in practice?

Key Area:
Public Life, Culture, Sport & Media
25/01/2013 - 11:54
Short Answer

Yes. However, while legally binding regulations are rare, there are various non-binding declarations that condemn racism in sport.

Qualitative Info

Legally binding regulations preventing racism, anti-Semitism and ethnic discrimination in sport are not very common in Germany – with the main exception being the area of football and the general anti-discrimination act (AGG). There are various non-binding declarations and position papers of various political actors and sport federations that condemn racism in sport. In addition, some national sport federations have explicit anti-racism paragraphs in their statutes. Neither the national handball federation (DHB) nor the national athletics federation (DLV) have introduced such explicit articles into their statutes. However, in German handball the anti-racism provisions of the international and European handball federations are directly applicable, and in athletics, all DLV coaches are obliged to comply with principles of non-discrimination and neutrality according to a “codex of honour” which is a binding element of their work contracts.

In football, there are several regulations in place that aim at combating or preventing racist developments. Several relevant provisions have been introduced by the German Football
Federation (DFB). In addition to an article in the DFB’s statutes that emphasises the federation’s commitment against racism, xenophobia and discrimination, the DFB enhanced its binding provisions on sanctioning players and football clubs for racist or discriminatory behaviour of their fans, players, officials and other members (Rechts- und Verfahrensordnung). These amendments of 2006 were introduced in compliance with the respective FIFA requirements. The DFB also incorporated an anti-racism paragraph in their non-binding model provisions on security in football stadiums (Musterstadienordnung), which seeks to assist clubs in implementing regulations that ban the display and expression of racist, xenophobic or discriminatory slogans or symbols in the stadiums. Also with the aim to enhance security in stadiums, the DFB has passed a binding decree according to which people who, for instance, express racist and discriminatory slogans or display such symbols in the stadium are to be temporarily banned from all stadiums across the country. Another significant regulation in football is the DFB Ten Point Plan against Racism. Adopted in 1998, it offers – similar to the UEFA Ten Point Plan – federations and clubs practical, but non-binding recommendations on how to prevent and combat racism in football at the ground level.



  1., Accessed on 22.01.2013.
  2. Geisterspiel als Bestrafung (2012):, Accessed on 22.01.2013.
Groups affected/interested
Type (R/D)
Key socio-economic / Institutional Areas Sport
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