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What Color is an Arab?

The rich diversity of the Middle East was beautifully demonstrated during the regional support of the Algerian World Cup team. But what happens when we take a closer look at racism in football?

The issue is obviously not a new one. CNN even has an entire site dedicated to reporting on racism in football, featuring interviews with famous players and officials. But if you’re not a football fan (or even if you are) you might not know that since 2002, the quarterfinals of the World Cup have been dedicated to eradicating racism.

Using their hashtag #SayNoToRacism, FIFA is trying to engage with you on every level: speeches during the games, commercials, and even selfie competitions.

Is FIFA full of hypocrites? The media and the public have been criticizing FIFA’s decisions regarding racism during this World Cup; so much so that FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke had to respond:

“Everybody can have an opinion based on what they see on TV, but the Disciplinary Committee has the burden of proof and cannot rely on elements that are subject to interpretations. They cannot be subjective; they need evidence to back any decision. Everybody understands that for a civil court. It’s the same for our disciplinary bodies.”

Valcke’s quote could be seen as an excuse for inaction, but he has a point: to fight racism, it takes more than acknowledging its existence. 

What do you think about FIFA’s #SayNoToRacism campaign? If you have examples of other anti-racism campaigns that you like, do let us know in the comments.

Even if you don’t think FIFA is doing enough, it’s worth participating in #SayNoToRacism. Starting with a selfie, maybe you’ll find inspiration for how you can make a difference.

And that’s #goodnews.

For more information: Check out FIFA #SayNoToRacism; Enjoy Algeria May Not Have Won, But…

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TJ Misra

TJ Misra is Head of Corporate Communications at BarakaBits. She has a Masters in International Affairs, with a speciality in Security and Conflict Management. She grew up in Manhattan, New York and San Francisco, California, and comes to BarakaBits after 4 years of living in Geneva, Switzerland. There she co-founded the first company specialized in transnational affairs and technology. TJ has worked building public-private partnerships across many sectors and borders, and has almost 10 years of communications industry experience.

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