Racism in football remains high, what is being done?

Kick It Out received 1007 reports of discriminatory behaviour during the 2022-23 season which was a 65.1% rise from the previous season.

Racism remains the most common form of discrimination in professional as well as grassroots football.

The high number of reports also proves that fans are more willing to report discriminatory behaviour and with this there can be movement against this action.

In 2021 the Premier League set up 6 pillars of commitment to eradicating racism within footballs. They announced their 3 year update in April to show the outcomes of their promises.

Premier League Commitment Updates

There have been over 2500 cases of online abuses towards players and those working in the Premier League and football investigated by the Premier League since 2020.

88% of participants from the leagues inclusive coaching programmes are now in full time employment with clubs.

19.3% of the Premier League workforce are from ethnically diverse background as well as 2 board members.

1344 boys and girls are involved in the South Asian Action Plan qualifiers which is run by 6 different Premier League clubs.

More than 19000 schools have been provided education resources on the No Room for Racism action plan promoting education to prevent further generations of racism.

26 clubs are now involved in Premier League equality, diversity and inclusion standard with 17 of them at an advanced level.

What are the 6 pillars of commitment?

In 2021 Premier League set out with their No Room for Racism Action Plan to implement their 6 pillars of commitment in their plan to prevent and stop racism within football.


  1. Executive pathways

This follows diversity within the workforce as in 2021 only 37% were female and 12% of the workforce were from black, Asian or ethnic minority backgrounds.

The Premier League set out aims for 2026 to have 2 female board members and 1 Black, Asian or ethnic minority board member. They aim to have 26% of people working within the Premier League company wide to be female as well as 18% from an ethnic minority.

The aims for 2031 included 40% of the board being female and 20% of the board to be from an ethnic minority. Company-wide they plan to have 50% female workers and 30% ethnic minority workers throughout the Premier League.

For this to happen they set in motion increased apprenticeships and placement opportunities to increase career development for those already within the Premier League as well as new talent.


  1. Coaching Pathways

They put in place a diversity target for coach development programmes and courses including their Premier League Coach Inclusion and Diversity Scheme. This promotes those from all backgrounds to pursue careers within coaching.

Now 88% of those who took part in this programme are employed with clubs.


  1. Player pathways

They implemented surveys and reviews to understand the experiences of players who experience discrimination so they can improve their situation.


  1. Supporting Communities

The Premier League committed to providing more practical and useful advice to club community organisations to help improve programme effectiveness and the experience of those who are black, Asian or from ethnic minorities who are a part of these.


  1. Action against racism

They created an online reporting system so fans could challenge and report any behaviour which is discriminatory against players or anyone within football either on game days or online.

Through this those who wish to can also take legal action and receive the support needed.

The Premier League began working with authorities such as the FA and the Police to tackle racism more effectively.

Providing resources to schools so that education against racism begins as early as possible so the importance of diversity within football is understood and respected from day one.


  1. Embedding Equality

To set clear diversity targets and guidance on how to achieve this for clubs. They became more outcome focused to make sure change really is happening.

The emphasis on meeting EY’s National Equality Standard to measure the best practices and improve the experience of those from black, Asian or ethnic minority backgrounds.


The punishment for those who are racist within football

Every Premier League game now has an observer programme to ensure behaviour is monitored and can be reported.

Those who have a report against them are at risk of automatic stadium bans as well as legal prosecutions. This could lead to affecting their education and career opportunities as well as lead to custodial sentences.

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