LAUSANNE, September 18, 2020 – AIPS is delighted to present its new digital initiative. From September 28th to 29th, the International Sport Press Association will be holding the conference entitled “Racism and Discrimination in Sport”, with the purpose of discussing the most pressing topics related to discrimination within the sporting framework.
The two-day conference will cover different areas starting from some historical anecdotes of racial discrimination in sport. Thanks to the expertise and competence of some of the most inspiring personalities in the international sports panorama, we will be also treating the way sports media and governing bodies deal with racism and discrimination, as well as the implications of the gender issue. 
FORMAT The conference will take place on, in line with AIPS’ previous positive experiences on the platform. For each day of the conference, the panels will last around 120 minutes. English will be the language of the event, but participants will have access, once again, to the simultaneous interpreting service Interprefy, which will offer translations in Spanish, French and Arabic. 
OPENING AIPS Gianni Merlo will give the opening speech, while Secretary General Jura Ozmec will be the moderator for the duration of the event.
SPEAKERS Journalists, athletes and administrators have been invited to share the virtual stage on September 28-29, in an effort to build a comprehensive and influential dialogue which reflects AIPS’ long-lasting commitment to connect journalism and sport in the purest forms, free from prejudice. 
Here are the first panelists to be announced: 
DONNA DE VARONA - Double Olympic Gold Medalist, Sports Broadcaster and Gender Equality Activist (USA) 
President of DAMAR Inc., a sports marketing, production and consulting company, is a double Olympic gold medalist and former world record holder in swimming. By the time de Varona retired from her sport aged 17, she had established more than 18 world records and fastest times, competed in two Olympics - the first as a 13-year-old world record holder - and was voted the most outstanding female athlete in the world in 1964-5. She is recognised for her work as an Emmy award-winning sports journalist, having covered 17 Olympic Games. She has been appointed by three IOC Presidents to the Women in Sport Commission and served as Chairman of the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup. De Varona has served on the United States Olympic Committee Board and Foundation, the United States Soccer Foundation, the International Special Olympics Executive Board, and is an advisor to the US Department of State Empowering Women Through Sport initiative. 
JUAN IGNACIO GALLARDO - Editor-In-Chief, Marca (Spain) 
Editor in Chief of Marca since March 2016, he began his professional career at El Informativo de Leganés and Antena 3 Madrid. During his long career in Marca, a newspaper he joined in 1991, he has toured all sections of the newspaper and held the positions of chief of section (2001), editor in chief (2003) and deputy chief (2007). He has been directly responsible for sections such as Cierre, Editiones, Fútbol or Real Madrid and has coordinated throughout all these years various editorial and technological initiatives (some of them pioneers in Europe, such as sending information to mobiles). In charge of leading the New Projects area of ??the newspaper, he was in charge of Marca Plus, awarded two years in a row as Best Digital Sports Magazine in the World. He was vice president of the Spanish Association of the Sports Press (AEPD) for seven years, a position he left after being named editor in chief Marca. Distinguished by the Government with the Bronze Medal for Sports Merit. He has published a dozen sports-themed books, such as the biography Maradona, What planet do you come from, The Best Anecdotes from Real Madrid, El Deporte Rey and Gallego & Rey, 1,000 things you should know about football and CR7 World Cups, the secrets of the machine (published in three continents) among others. 
KARL-ERIK NILSSON - UEFA first vice-president (Sweden) 
Karl-Erik Nilsson was a teacher in the region of Kalmar’s schools before going into politics. He served as mayor of his home town, Emmaboda, from 1995 until 2006, when he left active politics. His first post in football administration was at local club Lindas BK. In the 1980s, Nilsson started out as a referee, and went on to officiate in the UEFA Champions League and at various FIFA and UEFA competitions. Nilsson was elected Swedish Football Association (SvFF) president in March 2012. Before that, he was a member of the SvFF board, as well as president of the Bohuslan regional association, and also served on the board of IK Oddevold, a club in his new home town Uddevalla. He was tournament director at the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Championship and had several other UEFA assignments, working as a referee observer and mentor for younger officialsIn April 2017, Nilsson was elected to the UEFA Executive Committee at the Helsinki Congress, and became UEFA first vice-president. 
NICOLA RIZZOLI - Former international football referee (Italy) 
Nicola Rizzoli is a former Italian football referee and current referee manager with vast international experience. Graduated in Architecture at the University of Florence, he made his debut in the Serie A in 2002. In 2007, he entered the list of international referees, reaching his first direction in a UEFA Champions League match one year later. In 2019, he entered the Elite group of UEFA, namely UEFA’s highest level for referees, a position that enabled him to become the sixth Italian referee to direct a UEFA Champions League final - Bayern vs Borussia Dortmund in 2013. He has been refereeing in national and international competitions until 2017, a period in which Rizzoli collected numerous achievements. He was awarded best Italian referee from 2011 to 2017. In both 2014 and 2015, Rizzoli was elected World’s Best Referee of the Year by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics. In addition, he was chosen to referee the final of the inaugural edition of the UEFA Europa League in 2009. On the international scene, Rizzoli became the third Italian to referee in a World Cup’s final - Germany vs Argentina in Brazil 2014. He retired from competitions in 2017, being appointed responsible and nominator of the Italian Referees Commision shortly thereafter. Rizzoli condensed his career in the biography “Che gusto c’? a fare l’arbitro” - What’s the fun in being a referee - published in 2015.  
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