complaints reach ‘alarming’ record number, says Kick It Out

(CNN) — Anti-discrimination organization Kick It Out said it received a record number of reports of discriminatory behavior during the 2022/23 football season.

The 1,007 reports represent a 65.1% increase on the previous year and include incidents of discrimination in professional play, social media and grassroots football.

Meanwhile, reports of discrimination in the professional game – including from the Premier League, English Football League, domestic cups, European and international competitions, the Women’s Super League and the Women’s Championship – have increased by 27.4% to reach 484, the organization added.

Kick It Out was originally established in 1993 as an organization against racism in sport, before expanding its mandate to include all forms of discrimination in 1997. In data released Wednesday, Kick It Out said revealed that racism accounted for 49.3% of all complaints during the period.

During this period, there was a 400% increase in complaints of sexism and misogyny, from 16 to 80, which the organization says was “amplified by a massive increase in online abuse against gamers and the fans”.

Islamophobic complaints increased by 300%, although in general there was a slight decrease in complaints of discrimination on religious grounds.

Social media abuse increased by 279% from the previous season and accounted for 28% of all complaints, an increase of 15.9% from 2021/22.

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In grassroots football, 43.4% of complaints came from matches involving minors under the age of 18, and racism accounted for more than half of these complaints.

CNN Sport contacted the Premier League for comment but did not immediately respond.

A spokesman for the English Football Association called the increase in cases of discrimination and misogyny “very disappointing”.

“We continue to work with our partners in English football to collectively root out this societal problem, and it is vitally important that incidents of this nature are reported to the relevant authorities so that action can be taken against the perpetrators,” the spokesperson said in a statement. a statement sent to CNN.

Kick It Out noted that the rate of reporting discriminatory incidents was higher for the fourth year in a row, suggesting a growing propensity among fans to report discrimination.

Tony Burnett, CEO of Kick It Out, said: “The significant increase in complaints in football is alarming and strengthens our resolve to tackle discrimination in all areas of football. Behind each of these statistics is someone who has sadly suffered discrimination, and supporting victims of abuse remains Kick It Out’s top priority.”

“As we continue to work tirelessly for Kick It Out, we call on fans, clubs, leagues and government bodies to help us in this cause, and we are encouraged that the number of reported incidents continues. to increase, suggesting that people are becoming less and less tolerant of discriminatory behavior and are more likely to report abuse when they witness it,” he added.

Burnett noted that the Kick It Out figures represent only a “snapshot” of the full scale of discrimination, reiterating football’s need for a centralized discrimination reporting mechanism to “address it with full force.” Sport”.

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