February 7, 2018 / 1:08 PM / in a year

Kick It Out alarmed by rising discrimination in English football

A football is rests on the pitch during the English Premier League soccer match in Burnley August 23, 2009. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis

(Reuters) - English football experienced a 59 percent increase in incidents of racist, homophobic and other discriminatory abuse in the first half of the 2017-18 season, British anti-discriminatory body Kick It Out said on Wednesday.

The organisation said it had received 300 reports relating to 282 incidents of abuse by the end of 2017, up from 177 incidents in the same period last season.

There was a 75 percent increase in incidents in professional football, a 14 percent rise in the amateur game and a 63 percent increase on social media.

About 49 percent of the 131 incidents reported in professional football took place in the Premier League.

Racism was the most common form of discrimination across English football, accounting for 54 percent of incidents, with homophobia, biphobia and transphobia making up 22 percent.

Kick It Out chair Herman Ouseley acknowledged that the football authorities have improved procedures to identify discrimination but said the statistics should “act as a wake-up call to everyone in the sport”.

“Ultimately, tackling discrimination must be a collective effort,” he said in a statement.

“The leaders across all sections of society and football, as well as the broader public and football supporters themselves, need to take action, report discrimination and help us eradicate hatred.”

Ouseley said the rise in discrimination in football came against a “backdrop of rising hatred in our society”.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, writing by Matt Westby; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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