Tackling Discrimination Through Football

The joint FSF-SD Supporters Summit took place on Saturday 22nd June 2013. The workshop delivered by Kick It Out provided an opportunity to share some of the outcomes from the fans consultation that Kick It Out launched last October.

Roisin Wood, Director of Kick It Out, presented the findings:

  • The majority of football fans, from all backgrounds, think that tackling racism, homophobic abuse and abuse towards disabled people are important issues in football (93% of fans say it is important to do more to tackle racism, 84% to tackle homophobia and 89% to tackle abuse towards disabled people).
  • The vast majority of fans know that Kick It Out is football’s equality and inclusion campaign and most (62%) believe it has made a difference in its role.
  • Fans see season long bans (81%), ejection from grounds (89%), better education and rehabilitation (57%) and tougher laws to punish fans outside grounds (70%) as the most effective measures to tackle discrimination.
  • There is also a job to do in showing fans how to report this behaviour. Just under half of fans (47%) know about the various ways to report abusive or discriminatory behaviour and over a third of fans (39%) believe that more should be done to promote how to do this.
  • Popular measures to help effectively report and stop abusive behaviour in grounds were: more consistent ejection of abusive fans (74%); better stewarding (73%); better education of fans (40%); a reporting app for phones (40%) and a text reporting service (50%).

This has prompted Kick It Out to develop a new app, free to all fans on iPhone and Android devices, which allows discreet reporting of discrimination seen, heard or experienced, and an online “Football Fans’ Guide to Reporting Abuse and Discrimination” to encourage the reporting of incidents. Both will be available for use at the start of the 2013/14 season.

The new reporting app, which was developed by Kick It Out and Make Positive, a leading cloud technology firm, and supported by the Salesforce Foundation, Sherry Design and Davenport Lyons, allows fans to report incidents both online and offline depending on the availability of a mobile phone signal.

The anonymity of those fans making reports is protected. Fans can choose to be kept up-to-date with the progress of their report by providing contact details confidentially, or can remain anonymous. All reports are forwarded to the club concerned, through the relevant club representative, and a copy is forwarded to The FA.

The “Football Fans’ Guide to Reporting Abuse and Discrimination” details all possible ways for fans to report discrimination. As well as the new reporting app, it covers reporting through the British Transport Police, stewards or text reporting facilities at the ground, hotlines to The Football Association and Kick It Out, and also advises supporters on what to do if they spot discrimination related to football on social media.

Kick It Out will be working with FSF and fans groups to develop positive ways to address some of the issues raised by the consultation.