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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Sport must kick out the ‘uncool sexists’ – chaplain

A campaign tackling racism and sexism should be unveiled in schools across the country, the Westminster Diocesan Chaplain for Sport has said.

His proposal came in response to reports that there is a near 400 per cent increase in reports of sex discrimination and harassment.

Women in Football, a network of professionals in and around the football industry, said 271 incidents were reported to it during the 2017-18 season.

“Sexism – as racism – is never far below the surface,” Mgr Vladimir Felzmann told The Universe.

Mgr Felzmann, who is also CEO of the John Paul II Foundation for Sport, pointed out that when some people feel threatened by “the other” – those different to themselves, whether it be a different gender or race – they will lash out and attack either physically, mentally or emotionally.

“A campaign to make it clear that a lack of respect for difference is a sign of weakness might make both racism and sexism an embarrassment rather than something some may view as cool.

“Drink-driving has become socially unacceptable,” Mgr Felzmann pointed out. “Sexism might follow that path.”

According to Women in Football, matchdays saw a 133.3 per cent increase in reports, workplace incidents were up 112.5 per cent and social media events increased by 285.4 per cent.

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Picture: A school child wears the Kick It Out initiative t-shirt before a Premier League match. (Martin Rickett/EMPICS Sport).