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Kick It Out: ‘Football is sending out the wrong signal’

RACISM IN FOOTBALL: Grassroots clubs have reportedly been fined for standing up to racist abuse

KICK IT OUT has said football is "sending out the wrong signal" after it was reported that some grassroots clubs have faced fines for refusing to ignore racist abuse targeted at their players.

Padiham FC received a higher fine for walking off the pitch after one of their players was allegedly subjected to racist abuse than their opponents did for the actions of the perpetrator, Burnley Express has reported.

Padiham FC and Congleton Town were fined £165 and £160, respectively, after the incident during a North West Counties Football League match last October.

Kick It Out said: “We are extremely concerned at the continued number of reports coming out of grassroots football, some indicating clubs have been facing fines for standing up to racist abuse received by their players.

“Football is sending out the wrong signal when bigger fines are given to the victims of abuse rather than the alleged perpetrators. We would support The FA reviewing their rules and sanctions in cases of discrimination.

“Racism and discrimination in professional football has rightly received significant attention this season following a number of high profile incidents, but we must not ignore the amateur game. Almost 2 million people play FA Affiliated Football on a regular basis, with a significant representation from BAME communities but the public perception is that there is a lack of protection for BAME players within the grassroots game.”

The way that authorities in the sport deal with racism has been heavily criticised by several high profile players in recent months.

Raheem Sterling and Danny Rose are just two footballers who have been subjected to racist abuse on the pitch of late and have hit out about the response from the sport’s governing bodies.

England captain Harry Kane has said that he would support his teammates if they chose to walk off the field in response to racist abuse and former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has said that “something drastic has got to happen and it might be walking off the pitch”.

But reports reveal the issue is not just confined to top level football.

Troy Townsend, Kick It Out’s education manager, tweeted: “I’ve been saying for a while now the grassroots arena is like the Wild Wild West.

“All the recent stories are just a snapshot of how it’s getting increasingly out of control.”

“Grassroots footballers across the country are losing patience with a system that is failing to support them,” Kick It Out said.

The organisation, which was founded by Lord Ouseley 25 years ago, has urged football associations to act quickly in response to the findings.

“The FA and County FAs affirm they understand the devastating effect racist and discriminatory abuse has on its victims, but we call on them to demonstrate that with decisive action,” Kick It Out said.

It added: “That means: better training and support for referees to respond in the correct manner when an incident happens on their pitch; swifter and more transparent disciplinary processes; robust, effective sanctions, as well as a vastly expanded use of education sessions, for those found guilty of discriminatory abuse and ensuring victims of abuse are not sanctioned for making decisions to protect their personal wellbeing.

“Kick It Out will continue to support The FA and County FAs in tackling discrimination in the amateur game, whilst always remaining an advocate for the grassroots community.”

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