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Töölö football stadium (Telia 5G Areena) is one of the participants in the campaign against discrimination. Picture: Cha già José/Flickr

Finnish stadiums are now encouraged to declare themselves to be discrimination-free.

“We wanted to challenge stadiums to participate in the work against discrimination. By declaring to be free from discrimination, a stadium sends a clear message that everyone irrespective of their ethnic background, age, functional capacity or sexual orientation is welcome to the stadium. Everyone has the right to enjoy and engage in sports in an encouraging atmosphere,” said Project Manager Ilari Äijälä from the Finnish Multicultural Sports Federation, Fimu. The federation is one of the organizations belonging to the campaign network, which is coordinated by the Ministry of Justice.

The first stadiums that have declared themselves discrimination-free are Veritas Stadium in Turku and Harju Stadium in Jyväskylä. They made the declaration in June.

During this autumn, the following stadiums will join the group of Discrimination-Free Stadiums:

August 10 Lahti Stadium

September 7 Central stadium in Rovaniemi

September 10 Sauvonsaari Stadium in Kemi

September 12 Telia 5G Areena in Helsinki

September 16 Elisa Stadium in Vaasa

September 24 Savon Sanomat Areena in Kuopio

[alert type=white ]”Everyone has the right to enjoy and engage in sports in an encouraging atmosphere.”[/alert]

“These stadiums challenge the audience and athletes to promote good sportsmanship and to intervene in negative jeering and name-calling. Sports have traditionally brought people with different backgrounds together, and this is something worth holding on to,” said Katriina Nousiainen, coordinator of the Discrimination-Free Zone campaign from the Ministry of Justice.

The campaign Discrimination-Free Zone is an information campaign to combat all forms of discrimination, bullying and harassment. It enables organizations and work communities to declare their commitment to the principle of non-discrimination.

Declaring to be a discrimination-free zone means opposition to discrimination, addressing the problem if one exists, and recognizing equality between human beings. As many as 1,000 organizations in different parts of Finland have already declared themselves discrimination-free zones.