Violence is prevalent across our societies, with those amongst us most vulnerable being most at risk – in particular, our children and our young men and women.
Sport is certainly not immune. Indeed, abuse remains one of the most compelling threats to the integrity of sport with evidence of perpetrators jumping from one region to another and from sport to sport. Perpetrators hide amongst us in plain sight, they abuse positions of trust, and they prey on our most vulnerable. Such crimes continue to go largely unreported, with victims often only speaking out years later, if ever.
Qualitative studies in this area are still limited. If we are to successfully address violence in sport, to ensure that our children and young people can enjoy sport in a fun and safe space, with parents and guardians reassured that their loved ones are safe, then we have to better understand the nature, dynamics, and the extent of violence in sport – whether it be sexual, physical, or emotional abuse.
That is why the multi-sport Athlete Culture and Climate Survey being published today in Italy is so incredibly important. Such reports do not make for easy reading, that’s for sure. But they are critical in informing us of the steps we must take to ensure real and meaningful progress.
We commend everyone that has been involved in this important study, and we highly commend the victims, survivors and advocates that took part. The findings of today’s study provide a compelling case that it is not an option not to act.
If we are to end violence in sport, we all must play our part, we must not only embed preventive measures across our sports, but we must also build trusted, supportive specialist mechanisms that enable victims and survivors to come forward.
To this end, FIFA continues to call for the establishment of an international independent multi-sport entity to support victims and provide trauma informed investigations, whilst assisting ongoing national efforts around the world.
With many thanks to our friends and colleagues in Italy for publishing today’s report, and for your continued works together to help end violence in sport. We congratulate you on the progress you have made over recent years, and we urge you to keep going in our shared efforts and commitment to ending violence in sport everywhere.
Yours in sport
Joyce Cook, Senior Advisor to the FIFA President’s Office, Safe Sport