New law against racism in football


Last week, the Federal Senate passed the new General Sports Act. The more than 137-page document defines sport as a “mainly physical” activity, as well as laying out a set of new rules and guidelines for the practice of sport in the country.

Many topics on the agenda such as the fight against racism, the fight against corruption and doping control were discussed at the stadiums. After several years of discussion, the project is about to be implemented. Learn about the main points!

What is the new General Sports Law?

This is how the new general law of sport, bill 68/2017 carried by senator and former volleyball player Leila Barros (PDT-DF) became known. The text has 218 articles that set guidelines and treat sport in a more general context.

The purpose of the legislation is to establish standards for sports practice in the country that address various issues such as education, organization and excellence. Various themes are discussed in the text, such as anti-doping policy and the fight against sports crime.

The project was approved by a symbolic vote in the federal Senate, but received the support of the vast majority of senators. It now follows the consideration and voting in the House of Representatives. No predictions have been made regarding the effective date.

Text repeals Pelé law that needs updating

One of the highlights of the bill is the repeal of the Pelé law, which has so far been the main rule in sports in Brazil. Created in 1998, this law was named so because it was drafted when Pele was Minister of Sports in the government of Fernando Henrique Cardoso.

In the late 1990s, Pelé’s law put an end to the practice of “passing” in football. Previously, clubs owned athletes’ contracts and were free to negotiate with other clubs. Thus, athletes could not leave their clubs without permission, even at the end of the contract.

With the law, the player became the owner of the pass. While the project brought more freedom to the athletes, there were also criticisms of the transfer of football to private entrepreneurs. The Pele law therefore needs to undergo an update, which is being discussed in the House of Representatives.

A project creates devices to fight racism in football

The new General Sports Act includes measures to combat racism, xenophobia and other forms of prejudice. The timing is right because this crime occurs frequently at certain sporting events in the country.

According to the Observatory on Racial Discrimination in Football, 35 charges were filed against Brazilian clubs until May – eight of which were in South American tournaments. The majority are exactly against Brazilian players and fans.

The project envisages the establishment of the National Authority for the Prevention and Combating of Violence and Discrimination in Sports (Anesporte), which will be a body affiliated to the Special Secretariat for Sports. Its purpose will be to develop and implement public policies against intolerance, particularly in football stadiums.

At the same time, Anesporte may impose fines or sanctions on associations, clubs, companies or individuals who commit any crime related to intolerance in sports. Penalties for the most serious offenses can reach R$2 million.

Finally, the bill also allows for the establishment of courts for its supporters that would have civil and criminal jurisdiction to try these crimes.

Other relevant points of the new legislation

In addition to intolerance in sport and updating the Pelé law, the new legislation also updates a number of rules. Check out the other changes brought by the new General Sports Act:

  • Freedom of expression: The text guarantees the freedom of expression of athletes, officials and coaches who cannot be disciplined for their performance. Corruption: The law provides for two to four years in prison for those who seek to gain illegal advantage.
  • Responsibility of sports organizations: With the law, organizations now have a set of obligations to ensure ideal conditions for athletes, technical commission and all members of the event.
  • Anti-Doping Sports Justice (JAD): There will be representation from trade unions representing athletes as well as organizations that govern and regulate sport. Currently, the Brazilian Doping Control Authority (ABCD) is responsible for doping control. Thus, with the creation of the new sports general law, it is expected that the tournament organizers and sports justice will be tougher against the ongoing sports discrimination cases in the stadiums and on the field.