Racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination are continuing to rise at an alarming rate in UK football, a damning report revealed on Monday.
Kick It Out, an organisation that campaigns for equality in the sport, released statistics that suggest discrimination reports have risen for a fifth consecutive year, with findings totaling a 16.7 per cent increase in the 2016-17 season.
Four hundred and sixty-nine reports - 67 more than in 2015-16 - were filed from across the Premier League, English Football League, Women's Super League, non-league and grassroots fixtures, with intolerance on social media also taken into account.
A massive 48% of the total reports received in 2016-17 related to race, 21% related to sexual discrimination and 17% of the complaints related to religious faith.
Kick It Out revealed that 56% of the grievances received pertained to incidents in the Premier League, 34% in the EFL, 9% at non-league level and 1% during international fixtures. Grievances in professional matches marked a 53% increase from the 2015-16 season.
“Kick It Out’s reporting statistics for the 2016-17 season clearly indicate discrimination is still prevalent within the beautiful game,” Roisin Wood, Kick It Out's CEO, said.
“As we head towards the 25th anniversary of the organisation in August 2018, it is a timely reminder that there is still significant work to be done to ensure all participants can feel safe and included in the sport.
“Whilst the statistics show a large proportion of reporting taking place within the professional game, Kick It Out is aware of the vast scale of under-reporting within the grassroots game. This is one of a number of challenges the football authorities must tackle going forward.
"Kick It Out actively encourages all those involved across the game to report any discrimination they witness or suffer."
Discrimination across all levels of the English football can be reported on Kick It Out's reporting app - available on the App Store and Google Play - including the option to file reports anonymously.