Racism in Football: How It Can Be Addressed and Solved

Racism in sport, and specifically, racism in football, is historically a poignant feature of European sports. And it happens to the teams, football players, and even the fans. 

Numbers don’t lie

Racism in football is impossible to quantify, but the circumstances are not good definitely.

Based on the Sky Data Poll conducted by Sky Sports News, racism has already taken an alarming state.

  • In the UK, 86% of football fans who attended a match regularly have witnessed a racist incidence at a game
  • 93% of BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic) fans have seen racism at a match—1 in 4 fans have experienced the abuse in the stands regularly
  • About 33% of the fans (1 in 3 fans) have experienced racist abuse personally; the percentage increases to 71% among BAME fans
  • Only 29% of them have reported the racist incident they had witnessed, but about 74% of them were unsure if actions were taken regarding their complaint
  • Also, 31% of the fans would not report the incident thinking that authorities will not take any action
  • About 29% are not aware of the reporting process 
  • 18% of BAME fans have suffered from a racist attack personally
  • London had the highest percentage of racist incidence rate wherein 17% of the fans experienced racism at every match attended
  • BAME fans are less likely to report a racist incidence; 1 in 4 would contact the authorities
  • However, only a quarter of complaints have been addressed by the authorities
  • 1 in 2 BAME fans believe that the authorities ’wouldn’t act on the complaint; 1 in 3 do not consider the racist incident as serious enough, and 1 in 4 find cumbersome the reporting process
  • Most complaints are directed to the clubs or near-by stewards (but they also reported to the police, Kick It Out, FARE Network and the FA 

In a study published in International Review for the Sociology of Sport, it was discovered that racism is rampant in British football. About 83% of the people believed that it is culturally embedded. 

Class and education are significant factors, although the historical notions of whiteness that are also culturally embedded are the most significant contributor to the incidence of racism in football.

No place for racism in football

Sports Minister Mims Davies said that the moment is an opportunity for the “people to use football as a cloak for their discrimination and intolerance.” The fans, BAME fans, in particular, are no longer enjoying the football experience.

Premier League Director of Policy also said that racism is “certainly a worrying trend.” Football should be a role model, with a greater impact for good. Racism ’must’ve no place in it.

The Director also mentioned that the clubs are working together to address the problem.

Just recently, Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba have been the target of racist abuse. Yan Dhanda, who had also experienced racism as a young footballer of Indian ethnicity, is not an exemption.

Rashford and Pogba missed penalty kicks in the recent matches of Manchester United. Pogba posted a message on his Twitter account.

Solving the problem regardless of how culturally embedded they may seem critical at this point. Otherwise, another Eric Cantona moment is waiting to happen if no government actions would be taken. That’s according to Garth Crooks, ex-striker of Tottenham and trustee of Kick It Out. 

Kick It Out is an anti-discrimination charity.

Addressing racism in football

Crooks added that, as a football community, drastic measures must be implemented. The #Enough campaign of the Professional ’Footballers’ Association may not be enough as well as boycotting social media. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport have also condemned the trolls.

However, legislation must be introduced quickly. This is to signify racism in football and sports in general as a national concern.

Premier League club managers have also highlighted the role of social media firms. These companies have the primary role in policing abuse against footballers. 

Strengthening their Hateful Conduct Policy is crucial, as well as the punishments to anyone who will violate these policies.

 

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Have you witnessed a racist incident during a match? Let us know.

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