Facebook and Kick It Out have launched ‘Take A Stand’ – an action-led initiative giving fans the tools to empower them to call out discrimination wherever they see it.
Take A Stand spoke to fans across the English football leagues about their experiences regarding everything from targeted abuse in Sunday League games, to racist fan chants, homophobic slurs and group messaging exchanges.
Many of football fans spoken to admitted to not knowing how to react when they have seen or experienced discrimination first-hand, but agreed to stand against it and show that ‘collectively as a group of football lovers, we aren’t going to accept it’.
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Facebook and Kick It Out will provide more easily accessible tools and resources such as:
“By keeping the conversation going around discrimination in football, we hope to turn bystanders into activists, so that football can be a game that is enjoyed by all, free from abuse,” Sanjay Bhandari, Kick It Out Chair, said.
“We know that social media in particular can be a battleground of hate. This is partly a behavioural and partly a technological problem. So we need behavioural and technological solutions. It is essential that we work with the social media companies to help solve these problems and encourage different behaviours.”
‘I didn’t want to put myself at risk’
Founder of Pride of Irons, West Ham’s official LGBT Supporters Group, Jim Dolan admitted to previously not wanting to confront discrimination happening around him.
“I didn’t want to put myself at risk, I didn’t want to put my boyfriend or my friends at risk.
“Through Facebook we’ve been able to reach people that we probably wouldn’t normally be able to on a matchday and also speaking to other LGBT group and building that community across the whole game.”
‘Brothers and sisters are standing by your side’
Trevor Sealy, 52, says he breathes a sigh of relief when he sees acts of solidarity when confronted with racism on Sunday League pitches.
On an incident in a Sunday League game he said: “At the last minute I got clipped and then you heard the other team say, we finally got the black b***. Even white team-mates didn’t feel like anything would really be done about it, so they felt there was no point rising to it.
“We need to actively confront it, actively stand up to it. As a black man, I breathe a sigh of relief. It’s not just down to us, white brothers and sisters are standing by your side.”
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