paul pogba 2

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.

premier league final

How the Premier League Has Evolved Over the Years

Premier League changed football forever, unrecognisable from what it was 27 years ago.

Founded in 1992, the numbers attached to the twenty-team Premier League playing a total of 38 games per season on average are staggering. For instance, the League has produced 21,553 goals in total with Manchester United leading the count at 1,989.

These stats, while they may not show the whole picture, proved that there is more to the league than the hype and money.

A league of its own

English football is always pitted against cricket and rugby, without an identity of its own. But those were the 1990s before the digital wave came into existence.

Football is now on a separate section of the newspapers and websites too. The sport had never experienced any letup in terms of media coverage. It’s a visual entertainment, from 18 games on live TV in the former First Division to 60 and now, 168 televised games every season.

Stakes are high

Each televised comes with a hefty price tag–the TV rights auction alone amounts to £$8 billion in total. A football match today is worth £10 million when the entire finals of the 1991-92 season cost around £15 million. 

In terms of broadcasting rights, there had been a 2,728% increase over 25 years. Predicting where the Premier League is broadcasted is harder to predict now more than ever. For now, it was available in 189 countries worldwide.

Ticket prices skyrocketed as well from £30 at the highest end to £97. So were the transfer fees. Club owners, which may compose of Americans, Middle Easterners, and Chinese, are billionaires. Thus, football is no longer the working man’s game. Instead, it can be considered a professional elite’s game–a lifestyle choice rather than just a sport.

A healthy mix of players

English football has a global appeal because of the talented and well-loved players from different parts of the world. When the League started, there were only 13 players from overseas out of 242 players in total. In the 2016-17 season, about 112 out of 220 players started the match on the last day of the said season.

Overseas players are well-represented today; they hailed from 113 different nations throughout the years since the Premier League started. In 1999, the first team without a Brit player played in the League. Speaking of which, out of the 20 teams, 13 has a non-English manager.

Discernible style of play

How the game is played was very different now. Agility and physicality are two vital changes. Not just the speed of the players and the way every match turns out, but also the club management takes care of these players more so physically. Diets are improved, and alcohol is removed from the regimen.

With this, football players are more interesting to watch while in the field. Their display of athleticism is salient.

On the other hand, with cards issuance in mind, the players of before were more disciplined. In the first week of 1992, no player was sent off, and three of the games had no booking. Compared with today, in just 10 games, 34 cards were issued. Red cards were also given to players.

English football has changed beyond recognition. However, it is still the same sport that binds people – Brits or not.

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