Kick it Out plea for social media companies to take action after Chelsea forward Tammy Abraham receives online racial abuse

15 Aug

Kick It Out have urged social media companies to take action after Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham was the subject of vile online racial abuse.

The striker’s penalty was saved by Liverpool goalkeeper Adrian to hand the Super Cup to Jurgen Klopp’s side on Wednesday night, and the 21-year-old subsequently received abusive posts on Twitter.

Abraham missed a penalty against Liverpool
Getty - Contributor

There have been a series of unsavoury incidents already this season and Kick It Out were quick to condemn it.

“Last night we received reports of racist abuse at Tammy Abraham on social media after Chelsea’s UEFA Super Cup match,” a Kick It Out statement read.

“Such abuse is now increasingly predictable, but no less disgusting.

“We send our support to Tammy and reiterate our call for Twitter and other social media companies to clamp down on this level of abuse. This is a call to action – we want to know what they are going to do to tackle this insidious problem.”

Christian Pulisic said he and his Chelsea team-mates would get behind Abraham after his shoot-out miss.

Frank Lampard’s reign as Blues boss got off to the worst possible start on Sunday as a second-half capitulation resulted in an embarrassing 4-0 loss at Manchester United.

Chelsea had precious little time to dust themselves down before Wednesday’s Super Cup clash in Istanbul, where they drew 2-2 with Jurgen Klopp’s Champions League winners after extra-time and went to penalties.

Back-up goalkeeper Adrian denied substitute Abraham to seal the Reds’ 5-4 triumph in Turkey, but Pulisic struck an optimistic tone after the defeat and was confident the miss would have no long-term impact on the England Under-21 forward.

Cyrus Christie was racially abused earlier this season

“It’s penalties, man – somebody has to miss,” Pulisic said.

“He’s going to get his head up. Obviously it’s tough but penalties are like that. He can deal with it and he’ll be fine.

“He’ll move on, he’ll score a goal in the next game and everything will be forgotten. We’re there for him.”

Pulisic felt it was the second game in a row where Chelsea’s performance had not been rewarded with the right result.

“It was harsh on us,” the United States international said.

“A few things just didn’t go our way, a few decisions and in the end, to lose on penalties, that’s just how it goes.

“But we can be really proud of how we played. I don’t feel that we had a fair result at Old Trafford either.

“We’ve been creating enough chances to win these games and we just have to keep going and keep fighting.”

Danny Rose has said he is sick of racism in football

Pulisic had a goal ruled out for offside after setting up Olivier Giroud’s opener, only for Sadio Mane to level shortly after half-time.

The Senegal international put Liverpool ahead early in extra-time, only for Jorginho to make it 2-2 after Adrian was adjudged to have brought down Abraham in the box.

The striker wasted a great chance to win the Super Cup before the match went to a shoot-out, where Adrian denied the 21-year-old’s decisive spot-kick.

There does appear to be a real togetherness being fostered by Lampard, whose belief in youth and understanding of the club’s values makes Pulisic confident that a first win is close.

“It’s been great working with him,” the ex-Borussia Dortmund star said.

“We’ve learned a lot so far and I think you can see the team forming.

“We have a lot of great players which makes it easier. We’re on a good path.

“I felt great,” Pulisic said after his first start.

“To be out there with these guys… they are easy to play with. I’m happy that I can get some more minutes in and move forward with this team.”

Chelsea, meanwhile, confirmed on Thursday the club had taken legal action against 11 ticket touts, one of whom has received a six-month jail sentence, operating in the locality of Stamford Bridge on and around match days as part of an ongoing undercover operation which will continue throughout the 2019-20 season.

A statement from Chelsea read: “We remain committed to working alongside the Metropolitan Police and Local Authority to eradicate ticket touting from Stamford Bridge and will continue to operate a comprehensive and long-term operation to combat this problem.”

Kick It Out apologise to Brighton over Chris Hughton sacking comments

15 May

Kick It Out, football’s anti-discrimination charity, have issued an unreserved apology to Brighton following comments by head of development Troy Townsend concerning the sacking of Chris Hughton.

The Seagulls achieved Premier League survival for the second season under Hughton, but he was sacked a day after their campaign ended with a 4-1 home defeat by Manchester City, who were crowned champions with their victory.

Hughton was axed a day after the Premier League season ended, with Swansea’s Graham Potter in the running to succeed him
getty

Despite reaching the FA Cup semi-final, Hughton’s side managed just two league wins since the start of the year as they finished 17th, only two points clear of Cardiff in the final relegation place.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph in reaction to Hughton’s dismissal, Townsend said the drive for more minority ethnic (BAME) coaches to be given opportunities was ‘now at worse than square one’.

On Wednesday, Kick It Out moved to draw a line under the row.

A statement read: “Kick It Out have unreservedly apologised to Brighton & Hove Albion FC, its chairman Tony Bloom, and the club’s board of directors and staff for any inference in comments made in an interview in the Daily Telegraph by Troy Townsend, the organisation’s Head of Development, that the club’s dismissal of Chris Hughton as its first team manager on Monday was in any way linked to his ethnicity – and also for the impact the comments have had on the club’s reputation and the reputation of its senior officials.

“Kick It Out and Troy Townsend fully accept that through its current employment of BAME coaches at senior levels, and the club’s long term engagement with, and support for Kick It Out’s various campaigns and events, Brighton & Hove Albion FC has fully demonstrated its commitment to eradicating discrimination of all types, and consistently provided opportunities for BAME coaches.

“Nobody at Kick It Out will make any further comment on this matter.”

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  • Leeds vs Derby (Wednesday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT
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Graham Potter, the Swansea manager, is being hotly tipped to replace Hughton in the Brighton dugout next season.

Kick It Out’s Troy Townsend calls for racists to face jail time after another weekend of football shame

8 Apr

Kick It Out campaigner Troy Townsend has called on authorities to put racist football fans behind bars following more disgraceful scenes on the weekend.

A Brentford supporter was arrested for racially abusing Derby midfielder Duane Holmes, while police are also investigating a sickening message sent to wing back Nathan Byrne on social media.

Northampton have also revealed that a number of their first-team squad were abused ahead of their game at Notts County as they went on a pre-match walk.

Holmes reported the abuse during Derby’s 3-3 draw at Griffin Park

Last week an amateur cup game was abandoned when one player was abused, which came days after Juventus teenager Moise Kean was targeted by Cagliari fans.

The problem appears to be worsening with each passing week, and Townsend insists it won’t stop unless serious action is taken.


Danny Rose reveals racism in football has made him look forward to the day he retires


“Some of it has nothing to do with the game. Some of it is just downright offensive to the point that some of these people need to be arrested and locked up until they do understand the impact of what they’re saying,” he told talkSPORT.

“I applaud the players who are taking a stance and not just accepting it.

“Players have been let down for the longest period of time because of the actions within the game are not strong enough.”

Meanwhile, Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha shared a tweet which described him as a ‘diving monkey’ – and Townsend argues that social media serves to fuel racism.

“I’ve seen a statement from Twitter which says they take this stuff seriously, but obviously they don’t,” Townsend added.

Zaha was abused after he won a penalty against Newcastle

“The threatening and racist language should highlight to anyone that you cannot have a platform which serves opinions like it does and then puts out statements which say it takes this stuff really seriously.

“If those social media platforms are not going to recognise the racial hatred that is being groomed on their platforms, then we can talk all we want but no action will ever get taken.”

And Townsend believes it is only a matter of time before players decide enough is enough.

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He continued: “The strength of the players is at its highest. I honestly don’t think we are that far away from players doing what I think they should do and walking off the pitch.

“It’s great us talking about Montenegro, we all come out in force when it happens in Montenegro to our national side.

“But we tend to hide it when it’s happening in our own country. We tend to delay things or hope it’s gone away. The players aren’t allowing that anymore.

Nathan Byrne received racist abuse on Twitter

“We’re not far away from players going, ‘We’ve asked you, you haven’t done anything. If the authorities won’t do anything, we’ll just take the matter into our own hands and walk off a football pitch’.

“It’ll be a sad day for a game, but ultimately it may be the moment where the focus is on everyone to stop talking and start taking action.”

Montenegro should face EXPULSION from Euro 2020 qualifying after racially abusing England players, says Kick It Out’s Troy Townsend

26 Mar

Anti-racism campaigner Troy Townsend believes UEFA should consider kicking Montenegro out of Euro 2020 qualifying after England’s players were racially abused in Podgorica.

The Three Lions’ 5-1 victory was marred by disgraceful scenes of racism after Raheem Sterling, Danny Rose and Callum Hudson-Odoi suffered abuse from home supporters.

UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against Montenegro, including a charge of racist behaviour which, if proven, ‘is punished with a minimum of a partial stadium closure’.

But Townsend, head of development for anti-racism charity Kick It Out, believes the current sanctions are insufficient.

Raheem Sterling cupping his ears towards the Montenegro fans

“I’m not sure UEFA are going to deal with it as effectively as they should,” Townsend told talkSPORT.

“Although there are rules in place, we can change those rules to suit the crime. A £100,000 fine is not effective and it’s not had an impact. So let’s start looking at not only stadium closures, let’s look at expulsions.

“You are responsible for your supporters, whether you like it or not.

“When England were causing mayhem on foreign soil in the past, the FA had to take the brunt of that, so why should these other federations take the brunt of what their fans are doing?

“We have a duty of care to protect our players from situations like that, but that duty of care falls on UEFA first and they have failed.

“UEFA have failed those players and they have failed their own protocol, but who is holding them to account? Absolutely nobody!”

Townsend vented his anger on social media last night, but upon reflection, he was impressed with how the whole situation was handled by England and the FA.

He added: “I was very angry last night, but maybe different this morning.

“You have to process these incidents and that they’re happening again. We put on an event last week just to raise awareness and a week later here we are talking about black players being racially abused again.

“Why should Callum Hudson-Odoi have to come out and, rather than talk about his first start for England, be talking about the fact fans have been calling him a monkey?

Rose and Hudson-Odoi were subjected to racist abuse in Montenegro

“I applaud the players and the manager for the way they have dealt with the situation and the way they have spoken.

“I also applaud the FA and whoever said let’s put those players up, let people hear their passion, let people hear how they’ve been effected and let people understand in this day and age it’s just unacceptable.

“The power of the player’s voice is the biggest thing we have and I applaud those players who went out there and said it exactly how it was.

“Those players were obviously happy to be interviewed, because it was a time where they could have their moment and I’m definitely sure they have empowered players up and down the country to have their say.”

Lord Ouseley to stand down as chairman of anti-racism charity Kick It Out after 25 years

11 Dec

Lord Ouseley is to stand down as the chairman of anti-racism and discrimination charity Kick It Out.

The 73-year-old former chair of the Commission for Racial Equality, founded the organisation in August 1993.

Ouseley has served Kick It Out since he founded the organisation 25 years ago

The charity confirmed his intention to quit, with a media release expected to be distributed later on Tuesday.

Speaking in August on the 25th anniversary of the organisation’s founding, Ouseley admitted removing discrimination from football is a task which would never be completed.

He also hinted he was preparing to retire.

He said in August: “There does come a time and I think that time will come certainly within the next 12 months.

“(But) I’ve been here before when I’ve said to people I’ll probably be gone in six months’ time and I’m still here.”

This time it appears Ouseley will quit, just a few days after the latest incident which required comment from Kick It Out when Raheem Sterling was allegedly abused during his Manchester City side’s Premier League match at Chelsea last Saturday.

Kick It Out’s Troy Townsend reveals reports of racism have risen for six consecutive years, says negative media stories ‘fuel perception’

10 Dec

Kick It Out campaigner Troy Townsend has told talkSPORT that racism has never gone away with reports of discrimination rising in each of the previous six years.

Two high profile cases have brought racial abuse of footballers back under the spotlight, with a Chelsea fan’s alleged abuse of Raheem Sterling, the Manchester City player, coming just a few days after a Tottenham supporter was arrested for throwing a banana at Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Video footage shared on social media showed Chelsea fans hurling abuse at Sterling, which is alleged to have been racist

Chelsea and the Metropolitan Police are investigating the incident which took place at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening, which Sterling reacted to on Instagram.

Sterling used the social media platform to call out newspapers for ‘fuelling racism’ with their coverage of young black players in comparison to their white compatriots, highlighting how the Daily Mail reported on Tosin Adarabioyo and Phil Foden, both of Manchester City, buying multi-million pound homes despite their youth.

Instagram Photo

Foden, born in Stockport, is treated in a more positive light, while Adarabioyo – who is of Nigerian descent – appears to be criticised for spending money on a house despite never starting a Premier League match; his contract renewal, which came after allegedly threatening to leave the club, is also highlighted early in the story.

Both stories were published earlier this year, and the two recent high profile cases suggest racism has returned to football.

However, Townsend – who works as education manager at equality organisation Kick It Out – claims racism has never gone away, with reports of discrimination increasing in each of the previous six years.

“We just cannot rest on our laurels – racism has never gone away,” Townsend tells talkSPORT.

“We released our report only a couple of weeks ago and six years running we have had an increase of reports and an increase of discrimination.

Racism on the rise again

Kick It Out's most recent annual report covers the 2017/18 season, and it showed a 22 per cent rise in reports of racism for the sixth consecutive year

  • Kick It Out received 520 reports for the period, up from 469 on 2016/17
  • 53 per cent of reports concerned racism, a rise of 22 per cent from the previous year
  • The highest rise in reports concerned disability discrimination, which increased from 14 to 29 (107 per cent)
  • Ten per cent of reports concern antisemitism
  • Grassroots discrimation reports rose by 35 per cent across the period, with 71 per cent of reports at this level concerning racism

“Racism tops the list again; over 50 per cent of our reports are around racism.

“When you go into the grassroots area of the game it is over 70 per cent.

“That identifies as a massive problem to me, and that identifies that we still have massive amounts of work to do.

“Yes, T-shirts are great – I work for Kick It Out and it’s great to have that visibility on matchday – but we very rarely get players talk the way Raheem did, [or] when Rhian Brewster spoke about his experiences.

“It’s very rare that players talk out through their playing days – it is often left until afterwards.”

Sterling claimed the media ‘fuels racism’ the day after he was allegedly verbally assaulted, and Townsend echoes the England forward’s feelings.

He continues: “You’ve got to remember the media is very similar to the footballing world; when you look at the top echelons of both industries there is no representation… there are not people in there who will say ‘hold on a minute, I can tell you the experience of how Raheem feels’.

“We have to take that on board, and we have to use language and terminology within our media that is acceptable in this day and age.

“The media can fuel perception, and that is what they are doing – they are fuelling perception with the stories they are talking about.

“And I’m not just saying the sports media – I’m not just going to criticise the sports media – this is media right across the board; Raheem hits the front pages, the middle pages and the back pages.

“The back pages are often negative. I don’t see Raheem being spoken about in the same breaths as other players, who maybe haven’t won what he’s won or done what he’s done in the game, but when you go through the papers the perception is a negative perception about this young man.”

And the negative perception is entirely based on Sterling being a black man who has done all he can to reach the pinnacle of the field he works in to become successful and wealthy.

Townsend adds: “I say Raheem has been continuously dug out just for being a young, black, successful, wealthy footballer.

“This is not the first time Raheem has been targeted by fans – the young man has been targeted going into his training ground.

Kick It Out's statement on the Sterling incident

“What happened at Chelsea shows what is still going on in football.

“Where is Richard Scudamore? Where is Greg Clarke? Where is Chelsea’s chairman [Bruce Buck]? They should have been talking about [the Sterling incident] last night and it has to be dealt with at the top.

“We do not have any leadership at the top of the game to speak out, they rely on Kick It Out. We have already made comments about the way Raheem Sterling has been treated differently by the media. The print media often targets, not just black players, but all footballers.

“Raheem Sterling has received bad press over the last few years because of his lifestyle, and clearly, there are issues from potential stories adding to prejudice and I have every sympathy for him.

“Players know if they are abused in any way they have to tell the referee. It was awful. All players know the referee is in charge and has a duty of care, and the referee can remove those people. It didn’t appear to me he told the referee in the first place.”

“I can pick out all the negative stories there have been about this young man that are nothing to do with his footballing ability, but have more to do with his wealth.

“Because he is now a young man who is earning quite a lot of money, and apparently black players are not supposed to earn a lot of money.”

Asked whether racism is confined to football or is a problem in Britain as a whole, Townsend made his feelings very clear.

“Of course there is [a societal problem]. I’m not a politician but obviously Brexit has seen a massive change in this country, and it is going to impact this country for a long time.

“We are now ‘judgemental Britain’ – we judge everything.

“Of course it’s a societal problem, but football has a massive say on that problem, and what is put on the front and back pages influences people and their judgements as well.

“That is why it is so important we support people like Raheem rather than be negative about what he is talking about.”

Football fans call for racism to be punished with points deductions

21 Nov

Nearly two-thirds of football fans across the world would support tougher penalties for clubs or national teams which fail to tackle racist abuse.

Kick It Out, in conjunction with live-score app Forza Football, has released the results of the largest recorded study into racism in football.

Kick It Out’s George Starkey-Midha told talkSPORT: “There is an appetite for punishments such as points deductions or more comprehensive stadium bans.”

Kick It Out have released the figures

These would be administered only in instances of persistent abuse, meaning clubs would not be penalised if one supporter embarks on a tirade.

27,000 people from 38 countries responded to the survey.

50% of UK fans have witnessed racist abuse at a match, yet only 40% would know how to report it.

Kick It Out founder Lord Ouseley said: “Around every football club there should be signs everywhere, there should be opportunities for people to download apps and complain either to clubs directly or to Kick It Out, or to the FA or the appropriate league.”

Fans were also asked whether they would feel comfortable with a player of a different ethnic or racial background to them representing their club or country, with an average of 84 per cent saying they would.

Fans in Norway (95%), Sweden (94%), and Brazil (93%) felt the most comfortable, followed by the UK (92%).

Mr Starkey-Midha added: “In a stadium like Old Trafford or Stamford Bridge that is still a few thousand fans who have issues with black players, with the integration of the BAME community into football. That’s not to say all those fans are standing up and racially abusing players, but there are clearly issues there that we have to work on.”

The results revealed a different picture in the Middle East.

Only 11% of fans in Saudi Arabia said they would feel comfortable with a footballer of a different ethnicity to them playing for their club or country, while the figures for Lebanon (15%) and the United Arab Emirates (19%) were also very low.

Racism could be an issue at the 2022 Qatar World Cup

It’s renewed fears that racism could be a problem at the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

Forza Football CEO Patrik Arnesson believes FIFA should demand assurances before allowing the country to host the tournament.

He told talkSPORT: “They should have done that in Russia, I think they should make sure that happens with Qatar. In every single country where we play football there should be no racist abuse.”

Globally, 74% of fans want FIFA to consider previous racist abuse when awarding countries international tournaments.

West Ham United suspend youth coach for attending right-wing march marred by violence

17 Oct

West Ham United have suspended a youth team coach while they investigate the circumstances behind his attendance at a march organised by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA), which was marred by violence.

Accused of Islamophobia and racism by its critics, the group marched through central London on Saturday to protest against what it’s Facebook page listed as ‘returning jihadists, veterans treated like traitors, thousands of AWOL migrants’, light sentences for paedophiles and an ‘epidemic of gang and knife crime’.

A police officer strikes a protester at the march (footage courtesy of the DFLA Facebook page)

In a series of posts on his Twitter feed, which he has now protected, Phillips said he attended the march and then defended the group against claims it is “far right” and was to blame for violence with the police and anti-fascism protesters on Saturday.

These tweets were forwarded to football’s anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out on Monday and it passed them on to the Football Association, as Phillips is a “participant in the game”.

As Phillips does not appear to have broken any laws, the case was passed on to his club, which took the decision to suspend him on Tuesday.

In a statement, a Kick It Out spokesman said: “We can confirm we’ve received a report about a West Ham coach claiming to have attended the DFLA rally. We have passed it on to the club and are liaising with them about the issue.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for the east Londoners said: “West Ham United is an inclusive football club. Regardless of gender, age, race, ability, religion or sexual orientation, every supporter within our diverse fanbase is warmly welcomed at London Stadium, free to enjoy watching their team play football without fear, discrimination or abuse.

A second protester was also filmed being struck by a member of police

“We have a zero tolerance policy to any form of violent or abusive behaviour. We continue to protect and cherish those values. And we remain committed to ensuring that every single member of the West Ham family feels safe, respected and included.”

Earlier this year, the Premier League warned its clubs against the rising influence of the DFLA’s forerunner, the Football Lads Alliance, which it said was using the game to spread Islamophobia.

The FA issued a ban to former Hammers director of player recruitment Tony Henry after comments he made about African players.

Start of England vs Switzerland to be broadcast in black and white to honour football’s anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out

10 Sep

Football’s anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out will be honoured on it’s 25th anniversary with the first 25 seconds of England’s friendly against Switzerland being broadcast in black and white.

The picture on Sky Sports’ coverage of the game at Leicester’s King Power Stadium will switch to black and white as the teams take the pitch, and it will be first time England action has been broadcast without colour in nearly half a century.

England take on Switzerland three days after losing to Spain

The game, which kicks off at 8pm and can be listened to LIVE on talkSPORT, has been dedicated to Kick It Out by the Football Association and England’s stars will show their support by warming up in branded t-shirts and entering the pitch alongside mascots chosen by the charity.

In a statement, the FA’s inclusion advisory board chairman Paul Elliott said: “Kick It Out have been a catalyst for the change in English football both on and off the pitch and we’re delighted to celebrate their inspirational work in promoting football for all.

“Hopefully the footage will encourage the millions of viewers at home to spend at least 25 seconds thinking about the importance of diversity in this beautiful game of ours.”

Kick It Out chair Lord Herman Ouseley said the charity, which was founded in 1993, was delighted with the gesture and hoped it would be a “powerful reminder of how far football has come in the last 25 years to make the a game a more open and diverse place”.

Build-up to the game between the teams ranked sixth (England) and eighth (Switzerland) in the world by FIFA starts on Sky Sports Main Event at 7pm.

Kick It Out was founded in 1993

Sky Sports’ director of content and production Steve Smith said: “Having supported Kick It Out all the way, we’re delighted to be able to help celebrate this landmark moment in such a unique way.”

England go into the match trying to avoid a fourth straight defeat, having lost their last two games at the World Cup this summer and their Nations League opener against Spain at Wembley on Saturday.