LONDON (AP) — Celebrating its 30th anniversary, anti-discrimination group Kick It Out says 73% of soccer fans feel the sport has become more inclusive in that time but that even higher numbers believe more still needs to be done to tackle abuse in stadiums and online.
Kick It Out’s Impact Report was released Tuesday to mark the organization’s landmark with an event held at Wembley Stadium. The group, which was founded in 1993, said it spoke to a total of 2,503 fans for its report, with more than two-thirds having been fans for 30 years or more.
Its report also said that 76% of fans polled are concerned about the impact of online abuse on inclusivity in the game, and 85% said more needs to be done to tackle discrimination toward fans in stadiums. That rises to 87% over the need to do more to tackle abuse toward players at stadiums.
The report said 70% of those surveyed believe they would probably or definitely call out a friend if they witnessed them engaging in discriminatory behavior, although only 34% believe they would call out a stranger.
Kick It Out began as a campaign, “Let’s Kick Racism Out of Football,” and has been a fully-fledged organization tackling all forms of discrimination in the game since 1997.
“As this report demonstrates, Kick It Out has changed the face of football for the better since its inception 30 years ago,” Kick It Out chair Sanjay Bhandari said Tuesday. “Fans from minority groups believe football is now safer, more inclusive and more welcoming, because of Kick It Out’s work.”
He added: “As we reach this historic milestone it gives us a moment to stop and reflect on the journey that we have been on, but we know that there is still much work to be done and this research only serves to highlight that fans overwhelmingly want more action to tackle discrimination throughout the game.”
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