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European Fair Play Congress Begins in Nicosia to Combat Violence and Racism in Sports
2008-10-02 12:50:28

Nicosia, Oct 2 - The 14th European Fair Play Congress entitled ''Violence and Racism, a Challenge to the Sporting Community'' began Thursday in Nicosia, organized by European Fair Play Movement and Cyprus Sport Organization (CSA).

The two - day Congress will seek to find ways to combat the two phenomena of violence and racism, through lectures and exchange of experiences from delegates of 40 countries.

Addressing the opening ceremony, the Movement's President Carlos Goncalves pointed out the need to combat violence and racism in sport, adding that the congress constitutes an ''opportunity to learn from each other to share their point of views and experiences.''

Pointing out that Nicosia, the host city, is the last divided capital in Europe, Mr. Goncalves said that despite the current division, ''the city will be united enabling a new era of prospect and prosperity.''

''As we firmly believe in the powerful potential of sport to contribute to a real and better and peaceful world, we also believe that bringing together youth, young people and sport undertaking a bridge-building role can play relevant role in the attainment of that aim,'' he added assuring that ''the European Fair Play Movement is fully available to the success of this enterprise.''

Addressing the Congress on behalf of Cyprus' President Demetris Christofias, Undersecretary to the President Titos Christofides said violence and racism are social phenomena developing outside sport venues and with variable ways are being transferred to sports.

''It should not be neglected that sport as such does not promote violence or racism,'' he added.

Referring to the delegates, Mr. Christofides said that we are a very small country and what we are discussing in this congress is what Cyprus experiences as violence against its existence as a state.

Professor Gurdun Doll-Tepper, President of the International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education called for joint efforts against violence and racism, adding that joint research by scientists from every discipline is needed to combat these phenomena.

Cyprus Sport Association President Nicos Kartakoullis said that violence and racism follows a top to bottom procedure.

''The values of sport must start from us [the decision makers in sports] and must be relayed downwards,'' he added.

Ricos Theocharides, President of Cyprus National Committee Against Violence and Fair Play, said that due to globalization in sports and the interaction of athletes and coaches from various races and cultures, violence and racism must by studied in depth so that we will be able to conclude to effective solutions.''

The Congress will continue with lectures and discussions regarding violence and racism in sports.

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