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Kick It Out urges football to tackle hatred in the game

Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion organisation, has called for a unified effort from everyone involved in football to eradicate prejudice and hate from the game. The call came as Kick It Out showcased its “Call Full Time On Hate” campaign at a refurbished Astroturf pitch in Stepney Green Park.

This popular local resource was opened in 2014 and was made possible by a £450,000 grant from the Premier League and the FA Facilities Fund, which provides grants towards developing new or refurbished grassroots football facilities. Local amateur sides have strong ties with the facility. 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.

New Year 7 pupils from London Islamic School were present to back calls to eradicate prejudice and hate from the game.

New Year 7 pupils from London Islamic School were present to back calls to eradicate prejudice and hate from the game.

The football authorities and affiliated organisations, including sponsors and partners, are intensifying their activities to tackle prejudice and hatred. They are working 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 has released its statistics which reveal an increase in discrimination incidents over 2015/16. Discrimination reports to Kick It Out have risen year-on-year since the organisation first started collating statistics in 2012/13. 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.

Last month the FA released its own stats in the latest version English Football’s Inclusion & Anti-Discrimination Action Plan, which collates how each of the leading bodies in the game, including Kick It Out, is tackling discrimination. Greg Clarke spoke at the Kick It Out event – his first appearance in his new role as FA Chair.

Participation and inclusion in football is appreciably better than ever, though Kick It Out continues to express ongoing concerns about discrimination and exclusion in many aspects of football at grassroots level. There is a huge deficiency in the areas of management and senior administration in English football, with much more commitment required to change an apparently exclusive and elitist monoculture that dominates the game at the top.

The situation in football is being exacerbated by the recent worrying levels of hate and prejudice in wider society that will negatively impact on the sport. The game is under the microscope, and every week incidents of hate are being witnessed. The Government has recently published its “Action Against Hate” plan for tackling hate crime, while a comprehensive report published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission stated that 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 cutbacks have taken place across society, football has stepped up and led 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.”


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