Football has central role in tackling racism in society, says Chris Paouros

  /  autty

Football has a golden opportunity to take the lead in fighting against racism in society, according to Football Association inclusion and advisory board member Chris Paouros.

The latest figures from the Home Office indicate the number of reported football-related racist incidents have risen by more than 50 per cent in the last year and have more than doubled from three seasons ago.

There were 152 reported incidents across England and Wales last season, up from 98 the year before. That figure stood at 68 during the 2015-16 season.

Paouros, who is also co-chair of Tottenham LGBT+ supporters' group Proud Lillywhites told Sky Sports News that organisations like the Football Supporters' Association (FSA) and Kick It Out must are vital in helping to combat racism across the game.

"These figures are worrying," Paouros said.

"Any incidence of racism - whether it's at football or anywhere - is one incident too many.

"But I think football has got an opportunity to take a lead here.

"You only have to look at some of the work that the Football Supporters' Association and Kick It Out do together with the Fans for Diversity campaign."

Asked why football fans feel more comfortable reporting incidences of racism, Paouros said: "We have got the mechanisms to do it now.

"Kick It Out have got an app and all football clubs have got anti-discrimination and inclusion statements. [A lot of] stewards are also now trained in anti-discrimination so football is working hard to do this.

"But we have to realise that there is structural racism in this country and unpicking it means football doing its job as well. But there isn't any magic bullet for it, there isn't one answer - we have to take a whole-game approach."

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