A poll of over 7,000 Club Website members found that 32% of people have witnessed at least one example of racism at their grassroots football matches over the last 12 months. 68% said they had not witnessed any racism in this time.
The results of the poll, which was carried out during Kick It Out’s recent Weeks of Action, come as something of a surprise in a country that leads the way in tackling discrimination in football.
Whilst racism has been virtually removed from the terraces and playing fields of the professional game in this country over the last 30 years, these results suggest that there is still plenty of work to be done in the amateur game.
Earl Barrett played for Aston Villa, Oldham Athletic, Everton and England during the height of English football’s problems with racism and now heads up Kick It Out’s Leadership and Mentoring Project.
He told Club Website: “The numbers indicated by the poll are staggeringly high, and certainly underline just how much work there is for us to do, especially at the grassroots level.
“To think that, in 2010, one in three people involved in the grassroots game has witnessed discrimination is shocking, and illustrates why Kick It Out is working closely with County FAs, grassroots leagues and individual clubs to ensure these issues are addressed promptly and appropriately.”
“We urge anyone who hears or witnesses anything of a racist nature to report everything to us, either by phone, email or via our online reporting form.
“Let the club and league know, but coming to Kick It Out means the footballing authorities such as the county FA are instantly in the loop which allows for a greater chance of the incident being acted upon and the perpetrators being brought to book.”
Blackburn striker Jason Roberts told Club Website: “I think the UK is a leader in terms of race relations and the way we’ve battled racism through football. At the same time there’s work to be done and, although we’ve come a long way, we can’t be complacent about that. We’ve got to keep working hard.”
To find out how you can contact Kick It Out, visit www.kickitout.org.
Dan Pope, Club Website editor
Club Website poll result:
Have you witnessed any racism at your grassroots football matches over the last 12 months?
* No 67.6%
* Yes 32.4%
Total votes cast: 7,287