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21st Nov 2018

More than half of football fans have witnessed racist abuse at matches, report says

A new global report, published by Kick It Out, reveals some damning statistics about the frequency of racist abuse at football matches

Reuben Pinder

A global survey has revealed that more than half of football fans have witnessed racist abuse at a match

The results of the report were released by the equality organisation Kick It Out and the live-score app Forza Football and represent the views of nearly 27,000 supporters from 38 countries.

54% of fans surveyed said they had witnessed racist abuse at a match, with fans from Peru reporting the highest incidence, at 77%. Dutch fans, meanwhile, reported the lowest, at 38%.

While half of British fans asked said they had witnessed racist abuse, only 40% said they knew how to report it. That figure drops outside the UK to 28%.

An average of just 84% of fans surveyed said that they would be comfortable with a player of a different ethnicity to them representing their club of country.

Fans from Norway (95%), Sweden (94%), Brazil (93%), and the uSA (91%) were overwhelmingly the most comfortable, in stark contrast to the Middle East; just 11% of fans in Saudi Arabia said they would feel comfortable, while the statistics for Lebanon (15%) and the United Arab Emirates (19%) were also extremely low.

More than 20% of German, Spanish and Italian fans also said they would feel uncomfortable.

Lord Ouseley, the chairman of Kick It Out, said: “If you were asking this question 10 years ago, certainly 25 years ago, about how many fans had witnessed racist abuse it probably would have been about 90%, so the fact it’s 50% is both disappointing and pleasing, because we’ve moved and are moving in the right direction.

“What is disappointing is only around 40% know what to do about it. That’s critical in terms of where we want to take football. We want football clubs and the authorities to be doing a lot more.

“Around every football club there should be signs everywhere, there should be opportunities for people to download apps and complain either to clubs directly or to Kick It Out, or to the FA or the appropriate league.”

There is strong support around the globe from fans for teams to face points deductions for incidents of racist abuse (61%) and for governing bodies to take previous racist abuse into account when deciding where to stage international tournaments (74%).