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Reports of discrimination in English football rose by 32 per cent last season, NGO says

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Reports of discrimination across all levels of English football rose by 32 per cent last season, according to a study released by equality and inclusion organisation Kick It Out on Wednesday.

There were 422 reports of discrimination in 2018, up from 319 in the previous season.

But racism remained the most common form of discrimination in professional and grassroots football, constituting 65 per cent of reports.

Reports of faith-based discrimination, including Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, increased by 75 per cent from 36 to 63.

In the professional game alone, reports rose by 46 per cent, while the organisation received 159 reports of discrimination via social media.

It is the seventh consecutive year reported incidents of discrimination within the English game have increased.

Kick It Out chief executive Roisin Wood believes the governing bodies face a huge challenge to change this trend.

“Football reflects the society it is played and watched in and these figures are sadly not surprising,” Wood said in a statement.

`what can we do better and what is not working?’.

“The sharp increase in faith-based based discrimination is also worrying and represents a challenge to us all —– what are we doing to address this intolerance?”

Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling suffered alleged racist abuse last season during his side’s defeat at Chelsea.

Also, a banana skin was thrown towards Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang during the London derby with Tottenham Hotspur.

Several leading English Premier League (EPL) players backed the campaign by the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) to boycott social media for 24 hours in a stand against online abuse.

Responding to the Kick It Out figures, the English Football Association said in a statement: “The FA has made huge strides in recent years to ensure that English football is a diverse and inclusive game.

“Most recently, the FA launched its `In Pursuit of Progress’ inclusion plan which has clear targets and ambitions to make sure our game better reflects modern society.

“This involves creating opportunities in football, both on and off the pitch, for people of all backgrounds.

OLAL

(Edited by Olawale Alabi)

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