New guidelines to address spectator racism in sport

by Australian Human Rights Commission | 17 November 2021
A new set of guidelines will help Australian sports organisations act effectively and consistently in responding to incidents of spectator racism and preventing racism from occurring at sporting events.

Major professional sports organisations including the AFL, Cricket Australia, NRL, Tennis Australia, and some of the nation’s largest stadiums have already endorsed the guidelines, and more are expected to sign on.

The Spectator Racism Guidelines are the result of consultations hosted by the Australian Human Rights Commission with professional sporting codes, clubs, players, venue operators, and anti-racism experts.

Race Discrimination Commissioner Chin Tan said the Commission spearheaded the development of these guidelines in response to numerous incidents of spectator racism over the past year.

“Sport holds a unique place in Australian society – it encapsulates our values of equality and fairness and helps us connect to each other – but unfortunately, racism in sport remains an ongoing issue.

“When racist incidents happen, they can have a long-lasting impact on those affected, and damaging social consequences. There is no place for racism anywhere, and that includes sport.

“We need consistent and strong responses to spectator racism across the sporting codes to send a united message that racism will not be tolerated, and that there will be serious consequences when it occurs,” Commissioner Tan said.

The guidelines identify actions that can be taken consistently across sporting codes in responding to incidents of spectator racism. This includes proactive measures to prevent racism from occurring, and appropriate support for impacted parties when it does occur.

The Commission has produced a suite of resources to implement the guidelines, including templates, policies, and communications materials to make clear that racism will not be tolerated.

The Commission intends the guidelines to be the first stage in an ongoing partnership with signatory codes, clubs, and venues to strengthen their anti-racism work and policies. Commissioner Tan said: “We look forward to working with these signatories further to make their sporting codes, clubs and venues as inclusive as possible.”

The Commission is also working on a wider National Anti-Racism Framework to address racism in all areas of society, due for release in 2022.

The Spectator Racism Guidelines can be viewed and downloaded from the Commission’s website.