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Footballers as young as seven experience racism at games

RACISM: Footballers as young as seven are being subject to abuse at games, a new anti-racism group has revealed

CHILDREN ARE being left in tears on the pitch because of racist abuse, a new anti-racism group has found.

According to research by the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Football Forum (BFF), children as young as seven are being targeted by racists during matches.

Ahmed Maravia, the vice chair of the BFF said that he’s witnessed under-14 players leaving the field crying because of the abuse.

"I've had kids who have actually come off the pitch, who should be laughing and smiling, in tears because they've been racially abused," Maravia said.

Maravia, who is also the chief executive of the Community Football Academy, said that the team’s players, who are mostly Muslim, had been called the P-word, the BBC reported.

He also said that he had heard “monkey chants” at games played by children under nine.

In one incident, a parent offered a banana to a child and said the “should be used to it”, the BBC reported Maravia said.

The newly-launched forum, believed to be the first of its kind in the UK, is inviting players to share their experiences of discrimination in football.

Players can take part in the forum’s anonymous survey, part of its efforts to help promote, support and encourage the development and progression of black, Asian and minority ethnic football clubs.

Racism in football has been making headlines in recent months because of incidents involving high profile players and teams. But since players including Raheem Sterling, Danny Rose and Callum Hudson-Odoi have spoken out and called for stronger action, the extent of the issue and authorities' failure to address it has been highlighted at grassroots level too.

Ivan Liburd, BFF chair, said: “In recent weeks, there have been a number of high-profile racist cases highlighted in the media from the top tier of professional football all the way to grassroots. This is concerning for local BAME clubs as similar abuse continues to take place at a grassroots level.

“We created the forum not only to be a critical friend to football authorities, but to provide a stronger voice in the agenda for change.

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