UK & World News
Half Of Footballers 'Have Seen Racism In Game'
More than half of Premier League and Football League players have witnessed or been subjected to racist abuse inside grounds, according to new research.
A survey of 200 active footballers by anti-discrimination group Kick It Out also found 20% of those questioned have witnessed racist abuse in dressing rooms or at a training ground, while 7% say abuse was directed towards them.
The results provide a dramatic snapshot of the level of discrimination witnessed by players in the English game and suggest there is still much to be done to banish it from the sport.
They come as the Football Association launches a series of videos intended to encourage players, fans and officials at all levels of the game to report discrimination wherever they see it.
The failure to report abuse, both at professional and grassroots level, has been highlighted as a factor in the continuing presence of discrimination in the game.
Kick It Out's survey, which was carried out between August and December last year, was conducted anonymously and was completed by a cross-section of players.
Black or ethnic minority players made up 32% of the sample, with 15% of the players at Premier League clubs and the remainder from the Football League.
As well as racism, homophobic abuse was widely reported in the survey, with 39% of players saying they had witnessed it in stadiums and 26% claiming they had seen it at training grounds or in the dressing room.
Players said they believed they were exposed to greater levels of abuse because of their profession, with 69% agreeing that was the case.
They overwhelmingly believe social media has made the problem worse, with 91% agreeing it has increased the level of discriminatory abuse.
The footballers also expressed concern about the level of black and ethnic minority representation among managers and executives, with some calling for compulsory interviews of black and ethnic minority candidates for all jobs.
Some 52% of players agreed there was an issue around the lack of black and minority ethnic managers and coaches, while 62% felt mandatory shortlisting should be in place for black and minority ethnic candidates.