Founded in 1983 - United for Diversity and Racial Equality


Montreal, May 31, 2011 --- With CRARR's help, an Arab linesman has been successful in his action at the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission (CDPDJ), which has recommended $4,000 in compensation after he was the victim of assault and racial insults from a young man of Italian background during a soccer game in Montreal's East end.

Mr. D.S., 63, is an engineer at a large company and has been involved with soccer for many years, as a referee, couch and volunteer at the Quebec Soccer Federation (FSQ). In August 2008, he helped referee a match in Saint-Leonard.

After a minor swore during the match, Mr. D.S asked the referee to send him off the pitch, in accordance with the rules of the game. Angry, the youth walked towards Mr D.S, grabbed him by the arms and, crying “F-you, F-ing Arab”, shoved him violently. Mr D.S. lost his balance and subsequently suffered pain in his arms. He was also humiliated by this event.

Two disciplinary reports were submitted, the first by Mr D.S. himself and the second by the referee. An FSQ disciplinary committee was assembled to hear the case, but rejected Mr D.S.'s complaint. The youth was exonerated by the committee, which did not comment on the violent and discriminatory nature of his actions.

CRARR was mandated by Mr D.S. to lodge a complaint for discrimination against the young man with the CDPDJ. The case sought to underline the importance of a “severe denunciation of this anti-Arab gesture”, given the prejudices towards people of Arab origin in today's society.
Last week, the CDPDJ informed the affected parties of its decision, which was taken on March 31, 2011. The decision requires the youth's father to pay Mr, D.S. $3,000 in moral damages and $1,000 in punitive damages before June 17, 2011. If payment is not made, the case will be taken to the Human Rights Tribunal.

“It's taken three years but I'm happy because, finally, the Human Rights Commission has taken me seriously and found in my favor,” says Mr D.S, who has become less involved in the game since the violent incident. “Soccer organizations must take this type of incident more seriously and introduce clear, credible and efficient policies and procedures to fight violence and discrimination.”

“All over the world, soccer is a sport that brings the people and different cultures of Montreal together,”highlights CRARR's Executive Director Fo Niemi. “Large numbers of people of Arab, African, European and Latin-American origin all play the game, and swift, firm action is required when hateful incidents occur on the pitch.”