Fears of racism still rife in foot­ball

Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

Hud­der­s­field Town’s Com­mer­cial Di­rec­tor Sean Jarvis (right) said: “We all need to en­sure that foot­ball grounds are in­clu­sive en­vi­ron­ments where ev­ery­one feels safe and com­fort­able” and while most foot­ball clubs now have strate­gies to ac­tively at­tract and wel­come sup­port­ers from all sec­tions of so­ci­ety, more work needs to be done by clubs and the au­thor­i­ties to chal­lenge and change these per­cep­tions.”

Town’s com­mer­cial di­rec­tor Sean Jarvis said more work had to be done.

“We pride our­selves on our ‘One Club, One Com­mu­nity’ men­tal­ity,” he said.

“We are com­mit­ted to cre­at­ing a warm and wel­com­ing en­vi­ron­ment, for all sup­port­ers, ahead of our sec­ond sea­son of Pre­mier League foot­ball.

“The find­ings of this study show that al­though a lot of clubs, like our­selves, are work­ing hard to change per­cep­tions in foot­ball, much more work still needs to be done.

“We all need to en­sure that foot­ball grounds are in­clu­sive en­vi­ron­ments where ev­ery­one feels safe and com­fort­able, and can just en­joy the foot­ball and a great fam­ily day out.”

As part of the study, a num­ber of eth­nic mi­nor­ity foot­ball fans from across the coun­try were in­ter­viewed, to iden­tify the key bar­ri­ers to their at­ten­dance at Bri­tish foot­ball grounds.

Quotes from those sur­veyed in­clude:

“Be­sides the cost of go­ing to games these days, the big­gest bar­rier for me is def­i­nitely that fear of be­ing racially abused, just not fit­ting in and feel­ing like I don’t be­long there.”

“As a small Asian guy, be­ing around drunk, an­gry fans who prob­a­bly don’t want me there, it’s a very scary and in­tim­i­dat­ing prospect, so for me I’m more than happy to con­tinue watch­ing it from the com­fort and safety of my own home.”

“Hav­ing grown up in the 80s and 90s, I saw a lot of racism and vi­o­lence go­ing on in foot­ball on the TV and that’s just stuck with me re­ally; it’s cre­ated a fear which I’d find hard to budge with­out ac­tu­ally ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a match for my­self, but build­ing my­self up to take that risk just doesn’t seem worth it to me.”

The Ter­ri­ers have vowed to con­tinue to work with Mr McGovern to ex­plore new ini­tia­tives and di­ver­sify their fan base.

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