Appeal - European Fair Play Congress September 24, 2004 / Vienna, Austria

We, the participants of the 10th European Fair Play Congress, representing national Fair Play organisations, hereby call on athletes, coaches, representatives of the mass-media, sports clubs and federations, the organisers of sports events at local, regional, national and international level – simply all members of the sports community who are convinced of the positive role of sport in our world, to join us.

Therefore, we, members of a sports family living by these values, recommend that:

Teams, athletes, coaches must ban aggressive expressions and war-like language when talking about their opponents.

They must be aware of their influence as role models on young generations and society as a whole. Even the most important sports competition must remain a game, with the opponent being a participant in this game, not an enemy. Thus, nobody shall use expressions connected with war. Nobody shall call for the “destruction, killing, or shooting”. Everybody shall strive to achieve a fair, tolerant victory, without using terms such as killing, annihilating the opponent. Sport is not war.

The media must make use of their tremendous influence on society to lead the way and ban war-like language from sport.

Aware of the need to fully respect the independence and autonomy of the media, we want to insist not to leave any space for the spread of violent ideas, but to emphasise the inherent values of fairness, tolerance and respect in sport. And in case war-like language is used, then only in the sense of condemning it. The press has an educational value, including TV and all other media. These bodies have a major role to play in guiding society toward the right values. Sport is not war.

Supporters must continue to be proud of their teams, clubs and preferred athletes, without offending the opponent.

Without an opponent, there is no match, no game, no competition. Supporters must recognise that the opponent merits at least as much respect and attention as the favourite athlete or team. It is also their role to ban aggression, war-like atmosphere, and hatred from stadiums and sports fields. Sport is not war.

Thus, in a joint effort by all of us, let’s make sport a place for joy, fun, understanding, tolerance and fairness – and do not allow aggression, war and hatred to enter the sports fields and stadiums. This is not respectful towards sport and even less so towards the victims of the numerous wars and conflicts around the world.

Club Fair Play of the Slovak Olympic Committee