According to the report released on Wednesday the 28th of November, during the 2017/18 season reports of disability discrimination increased by 107% from 14 incidents in the 2016/17 season to 29 for the 2017/18 season.
Level Playing Field (LPF) are disappointed to hear of these statistics but are not surprised that reports of disability discrimination are on the rise in football. We recognise how difficult it can be for disabled people to report abuse but initiatives like the KIO Report It App have made the process more straightforward.
Organisations such as LPF and KIO will encourage anyone who witnesses abuse to report it so that appropriate action can be taken.
There is no place for disability abuse in modern society; it is ugly, hurtful, dis-empowering and illegal.
Unfortunately, as an organisation, we have seen, all too often, inappropriate language and abuse being directed towards disabled football fans on social media. An increase of 180%.
Perpetrators often think they can hide, but hate crime is treated as a priority by investigating authorities.
Disabled people have a right, like anyone else, to attend the nation’s favourite game, to sit alongside their fellow supporters without fear of discrimination or abuse. We urge anyone who witnesses abuse to report it.
Owain Davies, Level Playing Field Chief Executive said: “We need a zero tolerance approach to this type of discrimination. Disabled fans should never be subjected to this type of abuse and those who carry out these vile acts should be dealt with accordingly.”
He went onto say “The prevalence of social media has had positive impacts however this is so often a source of disability discrimination and hate crime. Regardless of what setting you are in it is not acceptable and people need to be held to account if they choose to act in this way. As a football community we need to stand up to this kind of behaviour and tackle it head on.”
We urge disabled fans to get in touch if they ever experience any form of discrimination to ensure we can address these issues in an appropriate fashion. There is strictly no place for this in the game and we need to drive this message forward to ensure action is taken. We will continue to support disabled football fans, to represent their views and to raise awareness in the wider community, including the impact discrimination can have.
If you ever experience discrimination, please get in touch and one of our team will work with you to address it – email@example.com