Football still ‘male and pale’

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Published: Tuesday 6th January 2015 by The News Editor

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Football remains overwhelmingly ‘male and pale’, according to anti-discrimination body Kick It Out which has revealed a dramatic increase in the number of incidents of discrimination reported to it last year.

In the organisation’s annual report, Kick It Out chairman Lord Herman Ouseley has challenged clubs and authorities to appoint senior figures from ethnic minorities and women to reflect society.

Ouseley also claims there is “little appetite” to take radical action against top people in the game who have been involved in discrimination incidents.

There were 284 incidents reported in the 2013/14 season – half of them from postings on social media – compared to 77 the season before.

The increase follows Kick It Out introducing an app which allows incidents to be reported and the appointment of a new full-time member of staff dedicated to dealing with complaints.

In the foreword to the annual report, headlined ‘The male and pale pinnacle and power of football’, Ouseley says: “So, who will blink first? Is there any club or any of the authorities in football prepared to make their senior management teams or boardrooms reflective of the gender and ethnic balance of our society and make football more diverse where the power and decision-making reside?

“There is much to acclaim in the progress made to end discrimination on the fields of play as well as the conduct by fans but progress elsewhere remains tokenistic.

“It’s not for the lack of external lobbying or leaders talking about the shame of football in the poor representation of black people and women as managers, coaches, administrators and directors in the game.”

There have been several high-profile incidents of discrimination over the last 12 months, most recently Wigan chairman Dave Whelan’s six-week ban for remarks about Chinese and Jewish people.

Ouseley, who has previously been critical of the Premier League’s handling of the case involving allegedly sexist emails sent by its chief executive Richard Scudamore, added: “It has been noted that there is little appetite to take radical action against wrong-doing on the part of top people in the game and that represents the immediate frontier for equality action.

“It is of particular importance to acknowledge and praise those players, fans and others who now feel sufficiently confident to complain about and challenge discrimination.”

Kick It Out also revealed other steps it has taken to directly confront those posting racist messages on social media.

It carried out an educational session with a 16-year-old from Northamptonshire after he posted a racist message on Twitter about a professional footballer, and he has since helped his local football club run a Kick It Out day.

A man in his 40s from Norfolk who posted an offensive comment on Facebook directed at former Norwich manager Chris Hughton had a rehabilitation session with Kick It Out supervised by Norfolk Police as part of a ‘Restorative Justice’ outcome and issued a full apology on the Facebook page where he had published the original remark.

Published: Tuesday 6th January 2015 by The News Editor

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