Burnley FC defends tops table for football hate crime reports

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Burnley FC defends tops table for football hate crime reports

BURNLEY Football Club said its self-policing approach has contributed to the 17 occasions the club were reported for hate crimes at matches during the last two completed seasons.

The Clarets were found to have been the subject of more reports for discriminatory behaviour than any other team in England or Wales during the 2017-18 and 2018-19 campaigns.

Blackburn Rovers supporters were reported on nine occasions each.

The data, obtained by the PA news agency via a request under the Freedom of Information Act, does not specify whether the reports were made by opposition supporters or fans of the team reported.

Burnley insist they will continue to encourage supporters to report any abuse they witness, whether committed by a fellow Clarets fan or anyone else.

“Burnley is aware of the figure highlighted in the data and believes the number of instances reported reflects the club’s pro-active stance on such issues,” a statement read.

“As a club we operate a zero-tolerance policy towards any form of discrimination at Turf Moor and amongst our supporters at away matches.

“We actively encourage our supporters to report any relevant incidents, including those suspected from our own fans, which we believe is reflected by the number of reports made.

“Going back to 2016 we supported our former player, Andre Gray, who criticised two Burnley supporters for allegedly using racist comments in a match at Bradford.

“We will continue to encourage supporters to report alleged hate crimes and subsequently take the appropriate action as part of our ongoing commitment to making Turf Moor an all-inclusive place to watch football.”

Manchester United, Sunderland and West Ham were the subject of 13 reports each.

United and Sunderland both also made the point that their supporters are encouraged to highlight any abuse they witness, even if it involves their own fans.

Reports of incidents were submitted to the UK Football Policing Unit (UKFPU) by police dedicated football officers (DFOs). These reports may be informed by information obtained from partner organisations such as the Football Association and Kick It Out.

The anti-discrimination group Kick It Out said: “The rise in discrimination is a challenge for all clubs, at all levels, across the country – as it is for the rest of society. To this extent, football mirrors society.

“Reporting mechanisms, such as club procedures and our Kick It Out app, as well as the communications around these, are gradually improving. So, an increase in reporting figures is to be expected.

“We continue to urge anyone who is a victim or witness of abuse to report it."

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