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Kick It Out's Lord Ouseley warns football as reports of discrimination rise

Equality and inclusion organisation reveals increase of 59% on reports relating to discriminatory abuse compared to same period last season

Kick It Out chair Lord Herman Ouseley
Image: Kick It Out chairperson Lord Herman Ouseley says the latest statistics should act 'as a wake-up call'

There has been a "significant" rise in the number of reported incidents of discrimination within football, according to statistics released by the sport's equality and inclusion organisation Kick It Out.

In a press release issued on Wednesday, Kick It Out say it has received over 300 reports relating to 282 incidents of discriminatory abuse, through to the end of 2017 - which refers to approximately the first half of the current season.

This covers all areas of the game, including professional leagues, grassroots football and social media, and these figures mark an increase of 59% from the same period last season (177 incidents).

The organisation says that racist behaviour (54%) was once again the highest reported form of discrimination.

Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia (HBT) made up 22% of incidents, while antisemitism (9%) was another major category of discriminatory abuse.

Kick It Out takes up cases on behalf of complainants, while offering support and guidance to those who have witnessed or suffered discrimination. They also work with the football authorities and police.

The organisation says the professional game has seen a 75% increase in the amount of discrimination reports from this time last season, with a total of 131 incidents across the men's and women's games.

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The Premier League made up just under half of the reports received from the professional game (49%), while the English Football League (36%), non-league (14%) and the Women's Super League (1%) accounted for the rest.

At grassroots level, there was a small rise of 14%, from 37 to 42 incidents.

Kick It Out logo

Lord Ouseley, chairperson of Kick It Out, has called on the game's authorities to increase their efforts in tackling discriminatory behaviour across all levels of the sport.

He said in a statement: "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."

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