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Reports of racism in English football rise sharply

Racism remains the most common form of discrimination, constituting 65% of reports.

Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling. Picture: @ManCity/Twitter.

LONDON, United Kingdom - Reported incidents of racist abuse in English football rose by 43% in the 2018/19 season, according to campaign group Kick It Out.

Wednesday's annual report from the equality and inclusion charity said reports of discrimination in professional and grassroots football were up by 32% to 422, from 319 the previous season.

Racism remains the most common form of discrimination, constituting 65% of reports.

Cases of faith-based discrimination, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, rose by 75% from 36 to 63.

A number of incidents of racist abuse tarnished matches across Europe last season.

Montenegro fans marred England's Euro 2020 qualifier by abusing Danny Rose, Raheem Sterling and Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Manchester City winger Sterling was also the victim of alleged racist abuse in a match at Chelsea and Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a banana skin thrown at him by a Tottenham fan.

In the overall figures, which include social media incidents, discrimination reports increased to 581, a 12% rise from 520 the season before and more than double the number recorded five years ago.

It is the seventh year in a row that reported incidents of discrimination have increased.

The statistics are compiled from all levels of English football, including the Premier League, English Football League, FA Women's Super League, non-league and grassroots fixtures.

In a statement, Kick It Out chief executive Roisin Wood said: "Football reflects the society it is played and watched in and these figures are sadly not surprising.

"The fact that racist reports have risen by 43% clearly shows the massive work that all of the football still needs to do to challenge this," he added.

"In 2019 we need to ask the question of what can we do better and what is not working?"

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