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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 February 2019

Ethnic minority fans regularly abused in UK football

Almost three quarrers black and Asian fans attending games in the UK have suffered abuse

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah suffered abuse from the stands during a game in London against West Ham. Reuters
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah suffered abuse from the stands during a game in London against West Ham. Reuters

The majority of black and Asian ethnic minority (BAME) football fans have experienced racism while attending matches in Britain, according to a new survey published just a week after video footage showed racist abuse hurled at Liverpool’s Mo Salah.

Almost three quarters of BAME fans attending games have had racist abuse hurled directly at them, and of them one in five supporters say they are regularly abused.

Racism can include gestures, chants or direct verbal abuse.

The poll, conducted by Sky News, follows a number of high profile incidents.

During Arsenal’s win over Tottenham Hotspur in November’s north London derby, striker Pierre Emerick Aubameyang had a banana peel thrown in his direction. The fan responsible was fined by a local court for a “targeted gesture” with a “racial element”.

Those with power do not exercise their responsibilities in the way that will help us deal with this problem

Lord Ouseley, Kick It Out

Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling suffered verbal abuse from Chelsea fans in a video that sparked conversations about whether Britain’s media fuels racism in the stands and if the UK has regressed on progress tackling the issue.

Just last week Monday, Liverpool’s Egyptian striker Mo Salah was targeted in an anti-Muslim chant by a West Ham supporter during their 1-1 draw in London.

A West Ham spokesperson said the club had a “zero tolerance policy” against any type of abusive behaviour.

Anti-racism campaign group Kick It Out said it was “dismayed to see yet another high-profile incident of discrimination in English football”.

The man who founded the group aimed says English football has become “dysfunctional” in the way it tackles racism.

"Those with power do not exercise their responsibilities in the way that will help us deal with this problem,” said Lord Ouseley.

"Instant action is what we're looking for - responsible leadership.”

English football’s governing body says it is doing its best to tackle racism.

"Anybody who has a set of rules that thinks they can't be improved has to look hard at themselves, and we're working with everybody to try and find ways we can improve things,” FA chairman Greg Clarke said.

Updated: February 11, 2019 06:44 PM

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