AC Milan has today announced that it has signed the “Manifesto of Non-Hostile Communication for Sport” created by non-profit association Parole O_Stili, with the aim to take a stand against the issue of hate speech and online discrimination.
Founded in 2017, Parole O_Stili seeks to build a sense of awareness and responsibility amongst all internet users, encouraging them to share and maintain the values expressed in the Manifesto and to avoid hostile language – the issue of hate speech and online discrimination requires an urgent response, as also evidenced by the latest data provided by Italian polling company SWG, which shows that online hate and misinformation are perceived as “normal” by 71% of interviewees.
AC Milan CEO, Ivan Gazidis signed the Manifesto on behalf of the club during a digital event that took place today and that was hosted at Casa Milan alongside Parole O_Stili and its President Rosy Russo.
The event was live streamed online and aimed to provide a platform to raise awareness of the issue of online discrimination, as well as to discuss principles for and approaches to inclusive and respectful communication, particularly in the digital environment.
The signature of the Manifesto will be followed by an educational presentation by Parole O_Stili to the AC Milan online community on tackling hate speech.
AC Milan CEO Ivan Gazidis, said: “The Manifesto of Non-Hostile Communication for Sport is another important step on the Club’s social responsibility journey.
“AC Milan’s RespAct campaign aims to create a more inclusive, open and responsible environment around the Club and provide a positive example for the football world.
“We have decided to support this extremely worthy project to provide our global family of over 500 million Rossoneri with concrete guidelines aimed at creating an increasingly healthy and positive digital environment and banning intolerance and discrimination, in all its forms.”
Rosy Russo, President of Parole O_Stili, commented: “We are happy to welcome the first Serie A team, and one of the world’s most prestigious clubs, to our community.
“We believe that this is an important act of responsibility and of cultural change, which we hope can inspire others in football. This is not just a signature, but a formal commitment, which will also lead to an educational moment rolled out over the coming months to the whole AC Milan community, dedicated to the development of digital skills and the fight against hate speech.”
Signing the “Manifesto of Non-Hostile Communication for Sport” is part of AC Milan’s wider RESPACT campaign for equity, diversity and inclusion, launched by the Club last year. The campaign puts the long-term vision of the Club into action and demonstrates its commitment to promoting the positive values of sport and mitigating all forms of prejudice and discrimination.
Awareness, Education, Prevention and Collaboration are the four pillars of the campaign, a long-term plan to drive collaboration across a number of key stakeholder groups – in particular the next generation of fans – and create a movement which aims to increase general understanding of the issues currently faced within the game, analyse and start to address them, ultimately driving positive momentum towards inclusivity and tolerance in football and beyond.
When it comes to Prevention, AC Milan has always invested in strategies, tools and technologies to support the identification and prevention of violent, illegal and discriminatory acts, behaviours and conduct, both in its own venues and in the digital environment. The fight against “hate speech” across the Club’s digital channels is an area of particular focus. Thanks to this ongoing commitment and the use of Artifical Intelligence tools, the number of instances of inappropriate content within the Club’s digital environment has dropped by around 70% in two years.
By signing the Manifesto, AC Milan wishes to accelerate a process of change – together with a wide range of stakeholders, including institutions and the social media platforms themselves – to truly protect all internet users, starting from the groups most vulnerable to discrimination.
The “Manifesto of Non-Hostile Communication for Sport” is made of ten simple principles – listed below – which provoke a transparent and honest dialogue on the use of hostile language, based on the positive values of sport. Over 100 athletes, clubs, teams, federations, companies, journalists and spokespeople involved in the world of sport contributed to the development of the Manifesto.
1. Virtual is real
We commit to the values of respect, inclusion and courtesy, not just in competition, but in daily life and online.
2. You are what you communicate
The way that an athlete, fan or journalist speaks conveys their personality and passion for sport to others – our statements should convey honesty, strength, kindness and loyalty.
3. Words shape the way we think
We remain in control of our communication and commit to the value of sportsmanship, win or lose.
4. Listen before you speak
Listening to our coaches, the referees and our teammates, accepting both praise and criticism, makes us stronger and enhances our performance.
5. Words are bridges
Sport is a universal language and its message is powerful. It is our job to make it positive and hopeful, inspiring people and bringing them together.
6. Words have consequences
Words carry weight and can have a strongly positive or negative influence on others. No matter what is at stake, we choose them carefully.
7. Share with care
We are responsible for the content we share. We promote amazing achievements, sportsmanship and uplifting stories. We condemn hostility and intolerance.
8. Ideas can be discussed. People must be respected
There are no enemies in sport, only opponents. They must be respected, along with the rules, referees and judges, as they provide and protect the competition that we love.
9. An insult is not an argument
Fair play is everything in sport. Competition is about strength, whereas insults and disrespect show weakness.
10. Silence says something too
Strength is best shown by our actions. Silence in place of aggression shows discipline and self-control and can be a victory in itself.