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Kick It Out reveals significant rise in reported incidents of discrimination

Jeff Spicer / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Kick It Out, football's equality and inclusion organisation, is calling for action with reports of discrimination on the rise in English football.

On Wednesday, Kick It Out divulged statistics that showed a significant rise of discrimination reports at the midway stage of the 2017-18 season. The organisation received more than 300 reports relating to 282 incidents of abuse by the end of 2017, marking an increase of 59 percent from the same period in the previous campaign. Those incidents cover the professional game, grassroots football, and social media.

Racist behaviour was once again the highest form of discrimination, accounting for 54 percent of the reports. Homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia made up 22 percent, and antisemitism comprised 9 percent.

Type of discrimination:

  • Race - 151 reports
  • Homophobia, biphobia, transphobia - 63 reports
  • Antisemitism - 25 reports
  • Disability - 19 reports
  • Sexism - 17 reports
  • Anti-Muslim hatred - 7 reports

Lord Ouseley, chair of Kick It Out, called on football authorities to increase their efforts in tackling discriminatory behaviour, saying: "Our latest statistics reveal a significant increase in incidents of discrimination in football, which should act as a wake-up call to everyone in the sport. The spike in these midseason reporting statistics come against the backdrop of rising hatred in our society, as recently shown in Community Security Trust's publication of reported antisemitic incidents. These pieces of evidence indicate there is no place for complacency when it comes to challenging prejudice.

"In recent years, the football authorities have improved procedures it has in place to identify and challenge discrimination in the game and we are pleased that more people are aware of the reporting avenues available to them - but we must continue to ensure reporting processes deliver outcomes for perpetrators, as well as victims of hatred in football. Ultimately, tackling discrimination must be a collective effort. The leaders across all sections of society and football, as well as the broader public and football supporters themselves, need to take action, report discrimination, and help us eradicate hatred."

In January, Ouseley warned against assuming that bullying and discrimination are things of a bygone era, declaring, according to the Guardian's Martha Kelner: "I'm aware there are many people in the professional realms of football who are governed by the fear of challenging the managers and coaches where things are happening. Although it's much better than it used to be, the fear is still there."

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