Lord Ouseley: Football faces wake-up call after rise in discrimination incidents

Lord Ouseley (left)
Lord Ouseley (left)
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Kick It Out chairman Lord Ouseley has warned football faces “a wake-up call” after a sharp rise in discrimination incidents in the game this season.

In its mid-season report, Kick It Out said the professional game in England had seen a 75 per cent rise in the number of incidents it had seen reported, compared to the same stage of the 2016/17 campaign.

The equality and inclusion campaign group said overall figures showed it had received over 300 reports relating to 282 incidents of discriminatory abuse by the end of 2017, with those figures also including complaints regarding grassroots football and social media.

It said that was a 59 per cent leap from last season, when 177 incidents were reported to it during the corresponding period.

Lord Ouseley has challenged football’s authorities to react, and said: “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 mid-season 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.”

Kick It Out’s figures showed racist behaviour dominated the complaints, constituting 54 per cent of all reports. Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia led to 22 per cent of complaints, and antisemitism, with nine per cent, was also a cause for concern.

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