Premier League: Increase in racist incidents in England from grassroots to top-flight football, claims Campaign group Kick it Out

Agence France-Presse
Incidents of racism made up the bulk of incidents of discrimination with anti-Semitism and Islamophobia incidents also showing up in English football

London: Reported incidents of racist abuse in English football rose by 43 per cent in the 2018/19 season, according to campaign group Kick It Out.

Wednesday's annual report from the equality and inclusion charity said reports of discrimination in professional and grassroots football were up by 32 per cent to 422 reported incidents, from 319 the previous season.

Racism remains the most common form of discrimination, constituting 65 per cent of reports. Cases of faith-based discrimination, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, rose by 75 per cent from 36 to 63.

A number of incidents of racist abuse tarnished matches across Europe last season. Montenegro fans marred England's Euro 2020 qualifier by abusing Danny Rose, Raheem Sterling and Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Manchester City winger Sterling was also the victim of alleged racist abuse in a match at Chelsea and Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a banana skin thrown at him by a Tottenham fan.

In the overall figures, which include social media incidents, discrimination reports increased to 581, a 12 per cent rise from 520 the season before and more than double the number recorded five years ago.

It is the seventh year in a row that reported incidents of discrimination have increased. The statistics are compiled from all levels of English football, including the Premier League, English Football League, FA Women's Super League, non-league and grassroots fixtures.

In a statement, Kick It Out chief executive Roisin Wood said: "Football reflects the society it is played and watched in and these figures are sadly not surprising. The fact that racist reports have risen by 43 per cent clearly shows the massive work that all of the football fraternity still needs to do to challenge this," he added.

"In 2019 we need to ask what can we do better and what is not working?"

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