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Global survey indicates fans want tougher sanctions against racism

China Daily | Updated: 2018-11-22 09:11
Protesters are seen holding placards and banners during the protest in London on Nov 17, 2018. [Photo/IC]

ZURICH - Racist abuse from the stands remains widespread at soccer matches - but a large majority of fans don't know how to report it, an international survey revealed on Wednesday.

More than half of 27,000 fans across 38 countries interviewed by British anti-discrimination body Kick It Out and Swedish-based Forza Football said they had heard racist abuse being hurled at matches, but fewer than a third knew how to report it.

Kick It Out and Forza Football said the results strengthened the case for points deductions in incidents of racism from a team's supporters.

Sixty percent of supporters interviewed backed the idea of teams losing points in the event of racist behavior by fans, according to the survey.

Currently, teams are usually punished with fines or a partial stadium closure.

"The governing bodies, including the FA, UEFA and FIFA, must do more to promote methods of reporting racism and they must listen to supporters' demands," said Herman Ousely, chairman of Kick it Out.

"Clubs or countries whose supporters are racially abusive should face harsher sanctions, including points deductions."

Racist incidents in Britain can be reported by Kick It Out's online form or through an app.

The survey said the proportion of fans who had witnessed racism was highest in three Latin American nations: 77 percent in Peru and Costa Rica, and 71 percent in Colombia.

The survey also found that, on average, 84 percent of fans would feel comfortable with a player of an ethnic or racial background different than their own representing their nation or club team.

However, this figure varied from 95 percent in Norway to 19 percent in the United Arab Emirates, 15 percent in Lebanon and just 11 percent in Saudi Arabia.

"The research is a timely reminder of both the progress that has been made in tackling racism in football, and the challenges that remain," said Ousely.

"Further progress is unlikely to be made until governing bodies are bolder in their efforts to eradicate racism from every level."

Reuters

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