On the day Kick It Out is showcasing its ‘Call Full Time On Hate’ initiative, the organisation is calling for a unified effort from football to eradicate prejudice and hate from the game.
This is only possible with the full backing of the football authorities and affiliated organisations, including sponsors and partners, to intensify their activities to tackle prejudice and hatred and to place football at the forefront of promoting good community cohesion, by developing and supporting vital initiatives at grassroots level across the country.
Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion organisation, has today (6 September) released its 2015/16 reporting statistics, which reveal an increase in discrimination incidents (see Appendix 1). Discrimination reports to Kick It Out have risen year-on-year since the organisation first started collating statistics in 2012/13.
In addition, The FA has released its own stats in the latest version English Football’s Inclusion & Anti-Discrimination Action Plan, released last month which collates how each of the leading bodies in the game, including Kick It Out, are tackling the issue of discrimination. Greg Clarke, will be speaking at today’s event, his first appearance in his new role as FA chairman.
Professional football continues to demonstrate a strong commitment to work towards the elimination of unacceptable discrimination and abuse.
Participation and inclusion in football is appreciably better than ever, even though there is a huge deficiency in the areas of management and senior administration in English football, with much more commitment required to change an apparent exclusive and elitist monoculture that dominates the game at the top.
Kick It Out continues to express ongoing concerns about discrimination and exclusion in many aspects of football at grassroots level. This situation is being exacerbated by the recent worrying levels of hate and prejudice in society that will negatively impact on the sport. The game is under the microscope and every week incidents of hate are being witnessed.
Reports of football-related social media discrimination to the organisation have risen by 18% and highlights how hate and prejudice have moved from the stadiums to online.
The Government has recently published its ‘Action Against Hate’ plan for tackling hate crime, while there’s been a comprehensive report published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission that stated black and ethnic minority people in Britain face “entrenched” race inequality in many areas.
Kick It Out Chair Lord Herman Ouseley said: “Football has undoubtedly come a long way and made progress in tackling discrimination and making the game open to all. However, there’s vulnerability at this moment in time.
“As cut backs have taken place across society, football has stepped up and lead the way in terms of its community programmes, focusing on diversity, inclusion and equality using the power of football.
“It’s become a leader for this area but young people are vulnerable to the increased levels of prejudice and hate which has been evidenced by increases in reported hate crimes and incidents. “Education is one of the essential elements of tackling ignorance, bigotry and intolerance. Bringing people of all backgrounds together to play and participate in football activities provides the ideal environment to stimulate learning with and from each other about each other.
“This contributes to the achievement of diversity, inclusion and equality, by confronting personal prejudices which contribute to hateful activity. Kick It Out is intensifying its education work within football, including the professional sector, with a particular emphasis on football at grassroots.”
Kick It Out is working with local communities and is today (6 September) showcasing its ‘Call Full Time On Hate’ campaign at a refurbished Astroturf pitch in Stepney Green Park, east London.
The facility was opened in 2014 and was made possible following a £450,000 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which provides grants towards developing new or refurbished grassroots football facilities.
Local amateur sides have strong ties with the facility and West Ham United’s Foundation and Leyton Orient’s Trust both coach in the area and today are offering football sessions to local school children as part of Kick It Out’s activities