Club Brugge harnesses QR codes in anti-racism campaign

Belgian Pro League football team Club Brugge will place 24,000 QR codes throughout Jan Breydel Stadion in an effort to stamp out racism at its home ground.

The move comes after the Belgian justice system this week announced that it will not prosecute Club supporters following a high-profile incident earlier this season. Club’s 2-2 draw with Anderlecht on December 19 was marred after the visiting team’s coach, Belgian football legend Vincent Kompany, stated he was subjected to concerted racial abuse during the game.

The Public Prosecution Service conducted an investigation into the matter, but has not been able to determine who was responsible for the abuse. In the wake of this, Club has announced a new campaign entitled ‘#NietMetOns’.

Stewards will be deployed at Jan Breydel Stadion with the sole task of detecting racist/discriminatory behaviour. Any fan who observes such behaviour can report incidents in real-time via the QR code on the #NietMetOns sticker or via the website nietmetons.clubbrugge.be.

Club said these reports will be immediately followed up by its security department, with proven offenders facing stadium bans of at least two years, in accordance with Belgian Football Association regulations.

Club said in a statement: “There is no place for racism. Nowhere. Not in society, not in sports and certainly not with us. As a Club, we are taking the lead in the fight against this. For many years we have been conducting awareness campaigns to ban racism from our stadium. We will continue this struggle with concrete action. 24,000 QR Codes in the Jan Breydel Stadion should make it possible to detect, exclude and punish racism.

“Racism is a social problem that is everywhere. So also in football stadiums, and at Club. An absolute minority of the 28,000 fans who support Blauw-Zwart every week ruins things for the others. That is why we as a Club go one step further. 

“The past has shown that behavioural change through campaigns does not have (sufficient) effect. Many fans indicate that they no longer want to be associated with this behaviour, that enough is enough. Not with us.

“That’s how we look at it too: if you’re racist, you’re not part of our family, you’re not with us. And we don’t take it anymore, we report it. Niet. Met. Ons.”

Image: Валерий Дед/CC BY 3.0/Edited for size