Sports disciplinary bodies have received more reports of misconduct in recent years | NOW

In 2021, the Institute for Sports Law (ISR) received sixty reports of transgressive behavior. That is a significant increase compared to previous years. A possible explanation is the following reports of abuse of power by coaches in 2017right ISR notified NU.nl.

The total number of reports of inappropriate behavior has risen sharply in recent years. Undesirable behavior such as bullying and discrimination, but also sexual bullying.

One third of reports on cross-border behavior are received by the KNVB football association. This is then forwarded to the ISR. According to the institute, this mainly concerns reports in amateur football.

Previously, there was not much mention of transgressive behavior in football. ISR found that “hopeful” at the time, a spokesman said. But the number of reports of unwanted behavior in football has also increased in recent years, as has the number of sexually transgressive behavior.



Reports can result in better maintenance notifications

The fact that there are more reports doesn’t mean that there are more mistakes in the sport, although that can’t be ruled out either. One possible explanation for the increase is report from the De Vries committee from 2017, ISR director Henk van Aller told NU.nl.

This committee investigates sexual harassment and abuse in sport, at the request of the NOC*NSF umbrella sports association. The union made this request in response to an increase in reports of abuse of power by coaches, around the time of the #metoo movement.

What does the Sports Law Institute (ISR) do?

  • The ISR is an independent body with a disciplinary committee, which is authorized to impose sanctions.
  • Sports clubs decide for themselves whether to join the ISR. After that, they are required to report violations.
  • ISR handles these reports of transgressive behavior and sexual harassment independently and objectively.

Clearer policies and no more staff shortages

The report not only resulted in more reports, but also “structural changes and better arrangements for dealing with these kinds of cases,” Van Aller said. Disciplinary committees have existed in the past, but now the ISR has a specific policy for each report.

A report is presented to the prosecutor, who assesses whether further investigation is necessary. If that’s the case, a group of researchers will gather evidence. Based on this evidence, a decision is taken, for example the suspension of the person concerned.

The ISR faced a staff shortage in 2019 and said it had difficulty handling all cases. But as NOC*NSF has pushed for registration, ISR has received more support. The spokesman said that major investments had been made in more staff, better training and clearly defined policies based on the recommendations in the De Vries committee report.right

There was no increase in the number of reports after the news of Overmars

On Sunday Marc Overmars, Ajax’s director of football affairs, left immediately. He had been sending cross-border messages to several female colleagues for a long time. No complaints have yet been filed against Overmars.

The KNVB urges victims to report if they have experienced transgressive behavior. An ISR spokesman said that there had been no increase in the number of reports since the news of the cross-border behavior by Overmars.

Juliet Palmer

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