Kick It Out, football’s anti-discrimination campaign,received more reports of racism, s*xism and other forms of abuse in 2016-17 than any previous season in which numbers have been collected. Issuing the details for incidents reported at all levels of the game last season, Kick It Out said it received 469 reports, an increase of 16.7% on the 402 reported in 2015-16.
Complaints of discriminatory behaviour were made by people attending Premier League, Football League and Women’s Super League matches, as well as reported incidents at non-league and grassroots football, although the campaign believes most grassroots abuse goes unreported. The total, a record since the organisation began to act as a reporting vehicle in 2012-13, also included some complaints about discriminatory posts on social media.
Nearly half of the incidents reported last season – 48% – related to race, 21% HBT (homophobic, biphobic or transphobic) and 17% were faith-related, Kick It Out said. The organisation has an app which allows instant reporting of abuse, communicated at professional clubs’ stadiums directly to a club official who is expected to initiate immediate action. Other incidents are referred to the Football Association or relevant league to deal with.
While these figures show a rise in the numbers of football-related incidents directly reported, there is little doubt that they represent a tiny fraction of the actual racism, s*xism and homophobia which attaches to the game.
In April 2015 Kick It Out revealed the results of a web-searching exercise it had run with Tempero, a social media management agency, and Brandwatch, an analytics company. It found 134,400 racist, sexist, homophobic and other discriminatory football-related posts on social media sent over seven months between August 2014 and March 2015, with black Premier League players particularly targeted.
Announcing the 2016-17 reporting figures, Kick It Out’s chief executive, Roisin Wood, said it is clear that racism and discrimination persist in football. “As we head towards the 25th anniversary of the organisation in August 2018, it is a timely reminder that there is still significant work to be done to ensure all participants can feel safe and included in the sport.
“Whilst the statistics show a large proportion of reporting taking place within the professional game, Kick It Out is aware of the vast scale of under-reporting within the grassroots game. This is one of a number of challenges the football authorities must tackle. Kick It Out actively encourages all those involved across the game to report any discrimination they witness or suffer.”
• To report discrimination across all levels of the English football, download the free Kick It Out reporting app – available on the App Store and Google Play. The app features the option to report anonymously as well as the ability to include video and images to a report.