Almost nine in 10 football fans have seen a racist incident at a match, according to shocking new data.
A Sky Data poll for Sky Sports News showed that 86% have witnessed racism at a match at least once, with the figure rising to 93% among supporters from a Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) background.
One in five (20%) witness racism – including gestures, chants and abuse – often or every time they attend a match. That figure rises to more than one in four (26%) among BAME fans.
Over 1,000 football fans – UK adults who attend multiple professional or semi-professional football matches each year – took part in our survey.
The issue of racism in football was brought to the fore in December when Manchester City player Raheem Sterling was the victim of alleged racist abuse during their match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Police are investigating allegations of racist abuse directed at Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah when he played against West Ham, and Millwall is looking into alleged racist chanting before violence flared last month.
One in three (33%) has had racist abuse directed at them personally. That figure rises to 71% among fans from BAME backgrounds – and of those almost one in five (18%) said they are personally abused often or every time they attend a match.
There were low levels of passing on information about such incidents to authorities. Only 29% said they had reported a racist incident that they had witnessed and of those who did 74% were not sure what, if anything was done about their complaint.
Sports minister Mims Davies thanked Sky Sports News for conducting the survey saying: “I’m disappointed by the findings, but I’m not surprised.”
She has called for a summit bringing together all stakeholders from the game to discuss the issue which she hopes this will happen later this month.
The Premier League director of policy, Bill Bush, also commented on the results from the Sky Data poll.
He said: “It’s certainly a worrying trend, but we are determined to address this problem.
“The Premier League Clubs have all met and discussed what more we can and need to do.
“Football is a role model and can have great impact for good. There is no place for racism in football.”
:: Tackling Racism will be broadcast on Sky Sports News on Monday 11 February at 7pm.
A panel of guests including former England striker Emile Heskey will discuss the Sky Data poll findings and the programme will also hear views from West Ham’s Michail Antonio, the PFA, Premier League, Show Racism the Red Card and others.
Sky Data interviewed a representative sample of 1,006 UK adults and an additional boost of 150 BME adults who attend multiple football matches each year online 21-28 January 2019. Sky Data is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
For full Sky Data tables, please click here.