Every year, Kick It Out publishes a summary of the reports of discrimination the organisation has received during the season.
Below you can find out the latest statistics on the incidents reported to us every season - whether it's in grassroots, non-league, the professional game or online.
Using the last comparable season 2019/20 (as the pandemic curtailed attendance at a professional level, and grassroots games were on/off for most of the 2020/21 season), in the 2021/22 season we have seen a 41% increase in reports from the grassroots game (94 in 2019/20 vs 159 in 2021/22), with an 8% drop in reports overall (661 in 2019/20 vs 610 in 2021/22).
On social media, we saw a 38% drop in social media reports, between the 2019/20 and 2021/22 season.
A lot of work has been done to tackle online abuse in the past 18 months, including the introduction of a monitoring platform by the Premier League, as well as a Football Online Hate Working Group established in 2021 by Kick It Out which has addressed processes around sanctions and enforcements, as well as communications and campaigns.
We will continue to work with our partners in football to address any online abuse and push for the Online Safety Bill to be completed when Parliament returns from recess in September this year.
For the 2021/22 season, there was a relatively even spread of reports (averaging 60 reports a month, August 21 to May 22), with small peaks in January 2022 and March 2022. Possible reasons for this are the volume of professional games played in January (with the start of the FA Cup 3rd round), and several rearranged fixtures falling into March.
Reports of racism are again the most common, accounting for 54% of reports (329 reports).
We also looked at the type of abuse captured, with fan-on-player being the most common and accounting for over two fifths of all reports received (43%). The other leading type of abuse reported was fan-on-fan, which consisted of 30% of the incidents reported.
The Kick It Out website remains the most popular way overall of reporting incidents of discriminatory abuse.
In a year which saw very few fans in stadiums or on the sidelines of grassroots games due to COVID-19, reports of incidents are understandably down on the previous year. However, even a small number of incidents is unacceptable, and last year we still saw over 100 reported directly to us.
Our latest annual report for the 2019/20 season shows shocking increases in the levels of race hate and homophobic abuse, around football matches and across social media – in spite of the season being put on hold for several months due to Covid-19.
Our report details discriminatory related abuse received during the 2019/20 season, at both professional and grassroots levels.
Overall, in the professional game we saw a 42% increase in reports of discrimination in total, up from 313 to 446. There was also a 53% increase in reported racial abuse in the professional game between this season and last, up from 184 to 282. Even more alarmingly, we received 117 reports of abuse based on sexual orientation compared to 60 last season – up by 95%.
At grassroots level there were 94 reports this season compared to 113 last year, a fall of 14%. However, all grassroots matches from March 2020 onwards were cancelled due to Covid-19. Comparing this season to the equivalent period last season, there was an 11% increase in reports.
There were also major changes in how individuals chose to report incidents of discrimination to us. At the professional game, phone reports plummeted by over 70%, while reports via social media leapt by 229%.
We experienced a reduction in the number of complaints direct to us in terms of abuse on social media. We believe that this reflects greater public awareness of mechanisms to report directly to social media companies. There is some evidence to suggest that users are now reporting to us when they have received unsatisfactory responses from initial complaints to social media companies directly. Other data, including the findings of our YouGov poll and the increased investment by social media in human and AI driven content moderation, indicate that hate on social media continues to rise significantly.
Alongside these findings, we launched a YouGov poll with over 1,000 football fans, to gain a better understanding of discrimination incidents across the game.
The results showed that 39% of fans surveyed had witnessed or heard an act of discrimination with the last year and 14% of people had witnessed abuse within the last week alone.
Looking at the football season between January 2019 – December 2019, 30% said they’d witnessed racist comments or chants at a football match and a staggering 71% of those questioned also said they had witnessed racist comments on social media directed at a footballer. A further 51% of fans had also witnessed racism directed at a fan of a different team to theirs on social media.
With the issue of homophobia, the findings were equally shocking. 32% of fans said they’d witnessed homophobic comments at a football match in the last season and of these 41% of respondents have witnessed homophobic abuse aimed a footballer on social media.
Although around 84% of respondents said they’d be able to recognise verbal discriminatory behaviour at a game directed at a footballer, match official, team’s coaching staff or fan who supports the same team or a different team to them, a large proportion of people (22%) say they are unlikely to report any act of discrimination in the future.
And around half of those questioned also said it was unlikely they’d report racist or homophobic abuse directed at players, coaches or match officials at a football game.
Discrimination in both professional and grassroots football rose significantly in the 2018/19 season with reports up by 32 per cent, new figures show.
Statistics from Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion organisation, show reports rose to 422 in 2018/19, up from 319 in the previous year.
Alarmingly, incidents of racism continue to rise. It remains the most common form of discrimination in both professional and grassroots football, constituting 65 per cent of reports – a 43 per cent rise from 2017/18.
Although an increase in reports could highlight a more confident approach to reporting incidents, the leap in reports could also identify that discrimination across the game is still an issue which needs ongoing and constant education and the application of appropriate sanctions.
Faith-based discrimination, which includes Islamophobia and antisemitism, rose higher than any other across this period, with reports increasing by 75 per cent from 36 to 63.
Discrimination related to sexual orientation increased by 12 per cent from 61 to 68. Reports related to gender remained at the same level (eight), while disability discrimination reports dropped from 15 to nine.
In the overall figures, which include social media incidents, discrimination reports increased to 581, a 12 per cent rise from the season before (520).
The FA have not informed Kick It Out of the outcome in seventy-nine per cent of the 109 cases reported in grassroots football. Forty per cent of these reports were from youth football (under-18). Of this figure, The FA have not informed Kick It Out of 80 per cent of the County FA verdicts.
Discrimination reports in the professional game rose by 46 per cent to 313, with an outcome received in 62 per cent of cases.
The statistics are compiled from all levels of English football, including the Premier League, English Football League (EFL), FA Women’s Super League, non-league and grassroots fixtures.
The 2018/19 season saw a change in the way online discrimination is recorded.
The organisation received 159 discrimination reports from social media in 2018/19. Again, the most common form of reported incidents was racism (62 per cent).
Statistics from Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion organisation, reveal an increase in reports for the sixth consecutive year.
Racism constituted 53 per cent of them during the 2017/18 season, a rise of 22 per cent from the previous year.
The charity received a total of 520 reports for this period, up by 11 per cent from 469 in 2016/17.
Disability discrimination reports rose higher than any other in 2017/18, increasing by 107 per cent from 14 to 29.
Ten per cent of all reports concerned antisemitism.
The statistics are compiled from all levels of the game, including the Premier League, English Football League (EFL), FA Women’s Super League, non-league and grassroots fixtures.
Reports from social media, which was the most popular reporting method, are also included.
Cases reported at EFL matches have risen by 30 per cent, and across the entire professional game there was a 10 per cent increase overall from 194 in 2016/17 to 214 in 2017/18.
Grassroots discrimination reports rose by 35 per cent across the same period, with racism (71 per cent) and disability (33 per cent) the most common forms of discrimination reported.
469 (16.7% INCREASE COMPARED TO 2015/16)
Previous seasons for comparison:
2012/13: 77 INCIDENTS
2013/14: 284 INCIDENTS
2014/15: 393 INCIDENTS
2015/16: 402 INCIDENTS
TYPE OF DISCRIMINATION:
Race – 225 (48%), HBT (Homophobic, Biphobic and Transphobic) – 98 (21%), Faith – 81 (17%), Gender – 42 (9%), Disability – 14 (3%), Other – 9 (2%)
AREA OF GAME:
Social media – 197 (42%), Professional game – 194 (41%), Grassroots – 78 incidents (17%
For the purposes of this report, professional game covers all Premier League, EFL and non-league clubs and leagues down to Step 4 of the National League System
PROFESSIONAL GAME INCIDENTS – INVOLVING FANS
Type of discrimination: Race – 105 (54%), Faith – 41 (21%), HBT – 34 (18%), Gender – 6 (3%), Disability – 3 (2%), Other – 5 (2%).
PROFESSIONAL GAME INCIDENTS – INVOLVING PARTICIPANTS (PLAYERS, MANAGERS AND CLUB STAFF)
Type of discrimination: Race – 4 (33%) , Gender – 3 (25%), HBT – 2 (17%), Disability – 2 (17%), Faith – 1 (8%).
Type of discrimination: Race – 48 (62%), Faith – 8 (10%), HBT – 7 (9%), Disability – 6 (8%), Sexism – 4 (5%), Other – 5 (6%).
SOCIAL MEDIA INCIDENTS (FOOTBALL-RELATED DISCRIMINATION)
Type of discrimination: Race – 71 (36%), HBT – 58 (29%), Gender – 32 (16%), Faith – 31 (16%), Disability – 5 (3%).
402 incidents (2.5% increase compared to 2014/15)
Previous seasons for comparison:
2012/13: 77 INCIDENTS
2013/14: 284 INCIDENTS
2014/15: 393 INCIDENTS
Type of discrimination (including percentage change from 2014/15): Race (54% – decrease of 3%), Faith (20.5% – rise of 3.5%), Sexual Orientation (17% – rise of 4%), Gender (7% – decrease of 2%), Disability (1% – decrease of 3%), Age (0.5% – rise of 0.5%).
PROFESSIONAL GAME INCIDENTS (INVOLVING SUPPORTERS)
122 incidents (16% decrease compared to 2014/15)
Type of discrimination – Race (61%), Sexual Orientation (23.5%), Faith (10.5%), Gender (4%), Disability (1%)
PARTICIPANTS PROFESSIONAL GAME (INVOLVING PLAYERS, MANAGERS, CLUB STAFF)
13 incidents (86% increase compared to 2014/15)
Type of discrimination – Race (38%), Sexual Orientation (38%), Gender (8%), Faith (8%), Disability (8%).
73 incidents (2% decrease compared to 2014/15)
Type of discrimination: Race (89%), Faith (4%), Gender (4%), Sexual Orientation (3%).
SOCIAL MEDIA INCIDENTS
194 incidents (18% increase compared to 2014/15)
Type of discrimination: Race (39%), Faith (34%), Sexual Orientation (16%), Gender (9%), Disability (1%), Age (1%).
Kick It Out’s reporting app was responsible for 22% of professional game and grassroots complaints in 2015/16. It allows users to attach evidence such as videos and photos, and social media abuse can be reported too.
FA DISCRIMINATORY INCIDENTS 2015/16 (INCLUDING KICK IT OUT STATS)
902 incidents (decrease of six cases)
Types of discrimination reported in professional football: Race, colour, ethnicity (59%), Sexual Orientation (13%), Nationality (17%), Gender (9%), Disability (4%), Religion / Faith (6%).
Types of discrimination reported in grassroots football: Race, colour, ethnicity (50%), Sexual Orientation (18%), Nationality (11%), Gender (8%), Disability (11%), Religion / Faith (2%).
2014/15 Annual Report
Number of incidents – 284
Type of discrimination – Race (189), Gender (2), Disability (4), Faith (58 – 57 of which are antisemitism), Homophobia (22), Age (0), Other (9)
PROFESSIONAL GAME COMPLAINTS
Type of discrimination – Race (67%), Homophobia (16%), Faith (16%), Other (1%), Disability (0%), Gender (0%), Age (0%)
Method of contact – App (38%), website form (33%), email (11%), social media (10%), telephone (5%), letter (3%)
PROFESSIONAL PLAYER COMPLAINTS
Type of discrimination – Race (60%), Homophobia (20%), Faith (20%), Disability (0%), Gender (0%), Age (0%)
Method of contact – Social media (33%), email (33%), telephone (17%), website form (17%), app (0%), letter (0%)
Type of discrimination – Race (77%), Other (13%), Homophobia (5%), faith (3%), disability (2%), gender (0%), age (0%)
Method of contact – Email (39%), website form (29%), telephone (23%), app (6%), social media (1.5%), letter (1.5%)
SOCIAL MEDIA INCIDENTS
Type of discrimination – Race (62%), Faith (30%), Homophobia (4%), Disability (2%), Gender (2%), Age (0%)
Breakdown of cases closed at the end of 2013-2014 season
64 cases closed
8 cases proven (12.5%)
4 cases closed
3 cases proven (75%)
39 cases closed
14 cases proven (36%)
142 incidents reported
73 cases led to offender identified and/or action taken and/or account deleted (51%)
2012/13 Annual Report.