BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — The Simon Wiesenthal Center program against Racism in Sport will be implemented at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires with the support of the Organization of American States.

The Eleven Points Against Racism in Football program works with sports authorities, athletes and referees to stop and prevent racial hatred in athletic events and to use sports as a bond between peoples.

On Tuesday, the Latin American representative of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Dr. Ariel Gelblung, confirmed to JTA the agreement with OAS and its support to implement the program during next year’s global event for teen athletes.

On Friday, OAS confirmed its decision to grant its support to the program as a way to fight for fundamental rights.

“If we succeed in eradicating racism, xenophobia and discrimination in sport, we can generate a greater awareness in society,” OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro said in a letter to the Wiesenthal Center.  “As Nelson Mandela has shown, sport is a powerful tool for changing unacceptable behaviors and promoting inclusive societies.”

Gelblung is planning an educational site inside the Olympic village in Buenos Aires.

The initiative was inspired by a similar program, Football Against Racism in Europe, or FARE, to prevent violence at major sporting events.

In March 2012, the Wiesenthal Center called on the Argentine Football Association to penalize the Chacarita Juniors soccer club over anti-Semitic chants from its fans against Atlanta, a team associated with the Jewish community. One year later, the center asked for sanctions against Atlanta for making racist chants against rival Chacarita.

Israel will be among 206 countries sending athletes aged 15 to 18 to the games in October next year. The third edition of the global event has soccer star Lionel Messi as one of its main supporters.

 

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