Racism? Then we won't play football

Dutch professional football has issued a collective statement against racism. With the message “Racism? Then we won’t play football!”, the clubs from the Eredivisie and Keuken Kampioen Divisie are clearly demonstrating their aversion to hearing discriminatory and offensive chanting on the stands. This campaign will be seen in all nineteen stadiums over the coming weekend.

On the initiative of the Eredivisie (Dutch Premier League), Keuken Kampioen Divisie (First Division), a collective action will be set up during the competitions in both divisions, in collaboration with 34 professional football clubs, the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB), trainers' association CBV (Coaches Betaald Voetbal) and players’ association VVCS. Players will not play for the first minute after kick-off, while the message will appear on advertising boards and video screens in the stadium.

This campaign targets offensive chanting from the stands and discrimination on (amateur) football fields. It is intended to raise awareness among fans that football is for everyone, irrespective of cultural background, religion or sexual preferences.

The message “Racism? Then we won’t play!” also links in with the protocol that has been applied by the football association and clubs during matches since 2016. In the event of offensive and discriminatory chanting, the supporters are asked to stop their behaviour. If the chanting continues, the football will be brought to a halt.

The statement from the Eredivisie and Keuken Kampioen Divisie comes on the back of event at Den Bosch - Excelsior last Sunday. Excelsior attacker Ahmad Mendes Moreira was the victim of racist voices from the stands. The issue led to a great deal of unrest, in the media, on social media and among the players.

The organisations within professional football very much regret these events and would like to do more to combat this type of unacceptable behaviour. By standing shoulder-to-shoulder and tackling all forms of violence, racism and discrimination together, we are ensuring that everyone feels welcome within football.

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