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More than half of football fans witness racism at games

RACISM IN FOOTBALL: England's Marcus Rashford warms up in a Kick It Out t-shirt

MORE THAN half of football fans around the world have witnessed racist abuse at a match, a new report has revealed.

According to a study by Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion organisation and Forza Football, the live-score app, 54 per cent of the sport’s fans have observed racist abuse at a game but only 28 per cent said they would know how to appropriately report such incidents.

In the UK, the study revealed that 50 per cent of fans had observed incidents of racism at a game and less than half (40 per cent) knew how to report it. In the US the figures are at 51 per cent and 28 per cent respectively.

Lord Ouseley, chair of Kick It Out and columnist at The Voice, said: “The research is a timely reminder of both the progress that has been made in tackling racism in football, and the challenges that remain. There is clear global trend towards an acceptance of the BAME community’s central role in football, but further progress is unlikely to be made until governing bodies are bolder in their efforts to eradicate racism from every level.

“The governing bodies, including The FA, UEFA and FIFA, must do more to promote methods of reporting racism and they must listen to supporters’ demands – clubs or countries whose supporters are racially abusive should face harsher sanctions, including points deductions.”

Other key findings from the study, which is the largest of its kind ever conducted, include that fans from Ghana (83%), Colombia (77%), and Nigeria (75%) are most in favour of deducting points from teams whose fans commit racist abuse. Those least in favour of such a policy were Russian fans (34%), Ukrainian fans (42%), and Dutch fans (45%).

Improving inclusion in football is one of Kick It Out’s key aims and efforts to do so are supported by a considerable amount of the survey’s UK and US respondents. Fifty-four per cent of fans from the UK said they would support regulations to improve opportunities for ethnic/racial minority candidates applying for jobs at football clubs, which comes following similar legislation being brought in by the FA, while 64 per cent felt the same in the US.

Patrik Arnesson, founder and CEO of Forza Football, said: “One mission of our app is to give fans a powerful collective voice, when otherwise they might be ignored. This report shows a real appetite for meaningful change in footballing policy. Organisations such as FIFA need to take note of the number of fans advocating points deductions for incidents of racism, for example. Our data shows that the footballing world is modernising in relation to certain issues, but that there is also a long way to go.”

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