We would like to respond to the incidents that occurred during the latest matches of Chikhura FC, which have damaged not just Georgian sport, but also Georgian national interests and its international reputation.
On 24 July 2014, during the Europe League game between Chikhura Sachkhere and Turkish Bursaspor on Locomotive stadium in Tbilisi, the author of the winning goal - Georgian player Tornike Mumladze made an offensive gesture directed at the Turkish fans. This was later followed by a conflict between the fans, player and journalists. During the same game a part of the Georgian fans made an anti-Turkish demonstration with a Nazi salute and flag.
Because of these facts the UEFA sanctioned the Sachkhere team with the penalty of 15 thousand Euro and closure of the stadium for the fans during the future games.
In a week, during the game of the same team, another provocative activity with nationalistic subtext was committed:during the 31 July game in Baku Georgian fans demonstrated a map of Georgia with parts Azerbaijani territory within its borders.
While the president of Chikhura later apologized, it must be noted that apart from a laconic statement by the Minister of Sports of Georgia, the UEFA sanctions were the only official response to these incidents. Passivity by both the Georgian football federation, which called the 24 July victory by Chikhura "heroic” on its web-page, and the Ministry of Sports and Youth, indicate that their reaction on the first incident was weak and inadequate, which caused the later provocation that was even more dangerous for Georgia. We believe that such attitude will further encourage this sort of actions by both players and their fans in the future.
We also believe that the representatives of the law enforcement agencies who were present at the game on Locomotive stadium, should have acted more actively to prevent the conflict, immediately stopping the Nazi-style demonstrations, and taking the measures envisioned by the law towards the participants of the conflict.
- We call of the Football Federation of Georgia to take seriously the discriminatory activities that occurred during the sports events and appropriately sanction the sportsmen and the clubs that took part in the incidents.
- We call on the Ministry of Sports and Youth of Georgia, to make an official comment regarding these incidents and to take measures aimed at preventing such incidents in the future, together with the various sports federations.
- We call on the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia to react adequately on the instances of ethnic and other discrimination, and to take appropriate measures in the future to prevent and stop public discriminating statements and breaches of law motivated by hate .
Georgian Democracy Initiative, GDI
Media Development Foundation, MDF
Tolerance and Diversity Institute, TDI
Georgia’s Reforms Associates,GRASS
Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center,EMC
European Center for Minority Issues, ECMI
Article 42 of the Constitution