"Last night, watching the documentary Anton Ferdinand: Football, Racism and Me, the abiding feeling I was left with was one of profound sadness. Sadness at the visible and deep impact that the incident had on Anton and his family. And sadness that, as a game, collectively, we let him down. I hope that the process of creating the documentary helps Anton to reach closure on this painful episode in his life. I was heartened to see his interviews indicating that he wished to use his experience positively to help the football family, including Kick It Out, to learn from this experience. If the offer stands, we would love to take him up on that and listen to his views. We need to ensure that, collectively, football learns the lessons from this.  

I know that much progress has been made by the FA and others in the years since this investigation but we also know that there is still more to do. A key focus should be that, across all areas of the game, such processes should be more clearly victim-led. A higher focus should be placed on ensuring that players and participants from the Premier League to grassroots receive appropriate welfare support from the moment a complaint is made.

The FA are correct that there is an agreed protocol enabling Kick It Out to provide such support. Understandably, this includes provisions designed to preserve the integrity of evidence and thus maximise the prospects of a fair conclusion to the case. Due to communication breakdowns at our end, this has not been clearly understood at all times. Going forward, we are completely clear on that. But candidly, this is not the major challenge to ensuring that players and participants receive the right welfare support. We only have the capacity to support 5-6 players or grassroots participants per year. We receive over 500 complaints per year and we know that this is the tip of the iceberg. We need to find scalable solutions to this problem. In the professional game, the primary welfare duty is on clubs as the employers. We would also urge any player to take advantage of the counselling and support services offered by the PFA and to use their support during an investigation. We need to find solutions for the scores of weekly victims at grassroots level where hate appears endemic.

Ultimately, this was a programme that reminds us that discrimination and hate are not just headlines. They have a lasting impact on human lives. Our collective focus as a football industry should be on how we work together to do better. I thank Anton Ferdinand for his honesty and wish him the very best."

Sanjay Bhandari, Kick It Out Chair