86% witnessed racism at football: Sky Sports 'Tackling Racism'

Eighty six per cent of football fans who regularly attend matches in the UK have witnessed a racist incident at a game, a Sky Data Poll for Sky Sports News has revealed.

More than 1,000 football fans took part in the survey and it found that 93 per cent of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) supporters have seen racism at UK football matches.

It also revealed one in three fans (33 per cent) have had racist abuse directed at them personally with that figure rising to 71 per cent when polling fans of BAME backgrounds.

Of those surveyed only 29 per cent said they had reported a racist incident that they had witnessed and of those who did report an issue, 74 per cent were not sure if anything was done about their complaint.



Of the 93 per cent of BAME fans surveyed who said they had witnessed racism at a game, one in four have experienced abuse in the stands on a regular basis.

Eighteen per cent of those BAME fans have suffered frequent racist attacks directed at them.


The capital appears to be the worst-hit, according to our survey, with 17 per cent of fans in London experiencing racism at every match they attend.

One in 10 fans from the midlands experienced abuse at every game, with eight per cent in Scotland, five per cent in the south of England and two per cent in the north of England. 

However, the survey suggests that a lot of these incidents are going unreported - with many feeling nothing would be done about their complaints.


BAME fans are less likely to report racist incidents, with one in four contacting authorities, compared with 41 per cent of all football fans.

Only one-quarter of complaints submitted to authorities by BAME fans were acted upon, to their knowledge.


Most complaints are issued to clubs or near-by stewards, followed by the police, Kick It Out, FARE Network and the FA or local FA. 

BAME fans are most likely to contact the police to report racism, while overall fans primarily approach the club or steward.


When asked why they hadn't complained, nearly one in two BAME fans do not believe authorities act on reports, while 30 per cent considered the incident as ‘not serious enough’ and one in four find the reporting process too cumbersome.

The 'Tackling Racism' feature program was broadcasted on Sky Sports News with a panel of guests including former England striker Emile Heskey and an interview with West Ham's Michail Antonio.

Speaking on the program Antonio believed that racism can be stopped in football stadiums and wants the football authorities to take a tougher stance on racism from fans 

Antonio has demanded points deductions and stadium closures for any team whose fans are involved in racist incidents.

Asked for his reaction to the survey results, Antonio said: "86 per cent is quite high to be honest - I wouldn't have said 86.

"I would have said more in the 40s but I put it down to ignorance more than anything else.

"I feel like it is getting worse but I'm not going to blame the English leagues.

"I would blame the FA and UEFA because I don't feel like they're strict enough when it happens.

"Fining an individual does nothing.

A banana skin was thrown onto the Emirates pitch following Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's goal for Arsenal against Tottenham

A banana skin was thrown onto the Emirates pitch following Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's goal for Arsenal against Tottenham

"That one person, okay, he gets banned for life but to be honest no one has a picture of his face. He can get back into the stadium.

Football Supporters' Federation official and former West Ham defender Anwar Uddin said that more needs to be done to ensure fans feel comfortable enough to report racist abuse 

"Racism can be stopped in football stadiums but it all depends on what the FA and UEFA want to do about it.

"If they want to hammer down on it next season, it could take five or 10 years [to eradicate].

"If they keep thinking of other solutions rather than just hitting it straight on the head, then it could take generations."

Former England striker Emile Heskey, said on the program that he would not have reported racism directed towards him during his playing days, however, he does believe modern players have more support than he would have done, saying: "There's platforms now that can help players to come out and report certain things.

"When I was playing, you didn't feel that you could come out and report anything. There was a lack of support.

"You felt if you came out, you were on your own. You didn't want to be there. I would have never come out and said anything."

Cardiff City’s defender Sol Bamba has urged football supporters to do more to report racist incidents after the results of Sky Sports News' investigation into the issue were released.

Reacting to those figuresBamba said: "Obviously, as a person of colour, it touched me and affected me. I'm surprised at those numbers.

"What upset me is that only one in three report it. I think we need to do more because unfortunately, people think, if we report it, nothing's going to come out of it. That's the problem.

"There's no place for it in this game now, or society in 2019. I think as a whole, we have to do more.

"I feel like we made progress, but we've gone back now. Recently a few incidents happened in games, in Italy and here. We made two steps forward and now three steps back.

"It has to be completely gone now because there's no place for it in the game."

Bamba was again concerned by those figures, and urged the powers that be to take more severe action against those found to have committed acts of racism within stadiums.

"People have to make sure they report it, and when they do, there has to be a punishment.

"Football's a beautiful game. We want to talk about goals and celebrations, but if they don't do it right, the club has to be punished and the fans have to be punished.

"The punishment has to be drastic. Proper punishments, no two-match bans, because that doesn't make any difference."

The Sky Sports 'Tackling Racism' program is available to view via the below.

Source: Sky sports