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BRUSSELS: The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile announced on Sunday the signing of a charter for collaboration with the Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme as part of the global coalition to counter online abuse in sport. 

The signing between FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem and his counterpart at FIM, Jorge Viegas, took place at the Francorchamps circuit ahead of the Belgian Formula 1 Grand Prix. 

Under the pledge, the FIA and FIM will contribute to the fight against online hate speech in sport, which is a major challenge for sport and society. 

The pledge includes upholding and promoting best practices in relation to the prevention, spread and removal of online hate speech in sport in all its forms. 

It also includes maintaining an open dialogue with stakeholders including athletes, volunteers, officials, fans, online platforms, technology businesses, government and regulatory bodies in the campaign to remove online hate speech from sport.

Sharing knowledge and research on online hate speech in sport to help eradicate its harmful effects and keep sport social is also included, as is fostering a collaborative approach between sporting bodies, online platforms, technology businesses, government and regulatory bodies to promote a transparent, positive and inclusive sports environment that helps to counter the effects of online hate speech in sport. 

Mohammed Ben Sulayem, FIA president, said: “The signing of the Charter by FIM is part of our mission to build a global coalition to stop hate speech in sport. We are grateful for the support of Jorge Viegas and his team as we take steps to drive out online abuse, which has become a blight on all sport. Sustained toxicity has reached deplorable levels and we must take collaborative action. Only through collaborative action can we bring about behavioural and regulatory change.”

Jorge Viegas, FIM president, said: “By signing the charter today, FIM gives its support to the FIA’s United Against Online Abuse campaign alongside the sporting bodies, online platforms, governments and regulatory bodies. Sport is a fantastic platform to teach values such as fairness, teamwork, equality, inclusion and respect. Together we must do everything possible to promote a transparent, positive sports environment to change attitudes and tackle hate speech and online abuse in sport.”

The charter is a central pillar of the FIA’s United Against Online Abuse campaign — a collaborative mission between national governments, regulatory institutions and fellow sporting bodies — with the objective of building a “global coalition to stop hate speech in sport.” 

The FIA is in advanced discussions with the IOC and FIFA, as well as representatives from the governing bodies of athletics, rugby, a number of other sports and the Peace and Sport Organisation.

Support for the campaign has also come from Prince Albert of Monaco, the rulers of Malaysia and Spain, the British minister for trade, and the prime minister of Slovenia, among others. 

The FIA is taking a knowledge-led approach to the campaign, which includes the launch of six scholarships. These scholarships will invite researchers worldwide to collaborate against online hate speech in sport while earning a master’s by research.

The scholarships fall under the auspices of the FIA University and are backed by the FIA Foundation. The FIA is partnering with Dublin City University, one of the world’s leading centres for research in the field of online hate speech, on the initiative. 

It will be a distance-learning programme spanning two years part-time and starting in January 2024. The FIA scholarship covers all academic fees and costs. The scholarship programme is part of the FIA’s equality, diversity and inclusion commitment. 


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