The United Nations office in Costa Rica has expressed its concerns about allegations of racism during the recent national derby between La Liga Deportiva Alajuelense and Deportivo Saprissa.
In a statement, the UN said it was “deeply concerned” about the alleged incidents, which it said “must be addressed directly.” The UN also urged the rigorous enforcement of the Law against Violence and Racism in Sports, which was instituted in 2020.
The law defines racial misconduct as any action or behavior that directly or indirectly subjects an individual or a group to demeaning treatment or harm based on their race.
It also prohibits discrimination, exclusion, or preference due to race, color, ancestry, or ethnicity. The UN’s statement comes after Saprissa player Javon East shared his experience of racial discrimination during the game.
East, who is of Jamaican descent, said he was the target of racist insults from fans of La Liga Deportiva Alajuelense. He said he asked the referee to stop the game, but the referee did not intervene.
East’s experience has sparked outrage in Costa Rica and beyond. Many people have called for stricter penalties for those who engage in racist behavior at sporting events.
Some have even suggested barring these individuals from stadiums for extended periods. The UN’s statement is a welcome development, and it is important that the law against racism in sports is rigorously enforced.
Racism has no place in sports, and it is time for Costa Rica to take a stand against this unacceptable behavior. In addition to the UN, several other organizations have also condemned the alleged racist incidents.
The Costa Rican Football Federation (FEDEFUTBOL) said it was “deeply saddened” by the reports, and it promised to investigate the matter thoroughly.
The UNAFUT, the governing body of Costa Rican football, also said it was “committed to fighting racism in all its forms.” The allegations of racism have also drawn attention to the need for more education about this issue in Costa Rica.
A recent study by the UN found that only 30% of Costa Ricans believe that racism is a serious problem in the country. This suggests that there is a need to raise awareness about racism and its harmful effects.
The UN’s statement is a step in the right direction, but it is only the beginning. More needs to be done to combat racism in sports in Costa Rica and around the world.