Leading football inclusion and equality organisation Kick it Out has confirmed it received a notable rise in reports of racial, sexual and religious discrimination for the fifth year in succession.
Unveiling figures for 2016-17 on Tuesday (10 October), the London-based charity revealed that it dealt with 469 complaints last season – a 16.7% increase on the previous year's tally of 402. 48% of those reports were said to relate to race, with 21% referring to homophobic, biphobic and transphobic discrimination and 17% concerning faith.
Those 469 reports came from across the Premier League, English Football League (EFL) and Women's Super League, in addition to non-league and grassroots football as well as discrimination on social media.
Kick it Out received 206 professional game reports last season, an increase of 53%, over half of which (56%) took place in the top-flight of English football. 34% came in the EFL.
Kick it Out's chief executive officer Roisin Wood commented that the concerning statistics indicate that discrimination is clearly "still prevalent" within football. She also called on authorities to tackle the glaring issue of the massive under-reporting of discrimination at the grassroots level of the sport.
"As we head towards the 25th anniversary of the organisation in August 2018, it is a timely reminder that there is still significant work to be done to ensure all participants can feel safe and included in the sport," Wood said.
"Whilst the statistics show a large proportion of reporting taking place within the professional game, Kick It Out is aware of the vast scale of under-reporting within the grassroots game. This is one of a number of challenges the football authorities must tackle going forward.
"Kick It Out actively encourages all those involved across the game to report any discrimination they witness or suffer."
Kick It Out, founded back in 1993 as the 'Let's Kick Racism Out of Football' campaign and established as an official organisation four years later, also reported a 62% jump in those reporting discrimination through a free app made available to both Apple and Android users in 2013.
In addition to the app, issues can also be raised with Kick it Out over the phone or by filling in an online incident report form available at www.kickitout.org.