Racism in football is an en vogue topic at the moment.
From the incidents against Raheem Sterling and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang last year through to the recent abuse of Romelu Lukaku this year, at times it has felt like there is a major story every week.
The truth is, racism is not a problem at games.
I recently blogged that racism is society and social media problem; not an English football problem.
My point was that in England (and specifically England, we need to separate that from the vile incidents in Italy and beyond), racism on the terraces is a rare occurrence.
The majority of incidents happen on social media – often committed by foreign based fans who have grown up in a less tolerant society than the United Kingdom.
Recent Home Office Statistics support the view that for match going fans, racism is no longer a huge problem – even though when a single incident happens it does make huge news.
The Home Office recently published their “Football-related arrests and banning order statistics” in England and Wales for the 2018/19 season.
In the 2018/19 season, the number of matches where hate crime was reported 193 matches. There were 3,022 games in total in England and Wales that fell under the recorded statistics.
That means there is 1 game where a hate crime is reported per 16 matches. That is less report
Of these 193 games, 79% related to race – 152 in total. In 2018, there were 148 incidents of alleged anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.
There 14 people arrested for racist and indecent chanting during the 2018/19 season. 14.62 million people attended a game.
That is less than 1 arrest per 1 million attendees. And an arrest does not necessarily signal guilt.
So there is 1 arrest for racist and indecent chanting per 1 million people at a football game.
That really is an insignificant number.
The fact is (and it is an uncomfortable factfor some) those committing football related racial offences are no longer white, skin head, overweight men. They are cowards from the 4 corners of the globe hiding behind an anonymous account on social media.
You are more likely to see someone from Nigeria, India or Singapore racially abuse a player on Twitter than you are to see a match going fan abuse a fan from the terraces
It is time the social media companies took responsibility for their users actions. And time the main stream media pointed fingers at the real problem. Even if the profile of the “racist abuser” does not suit their agenda.