The PFA is committed to tackling discrimination in football and wider society, and has worked towards equality for all our members for the past three decades.
As well as being founders of the Kick It Out campaign together with the Commission for Racial Equality - and football’s only supporter of the educational charity, Show Racism the Red Card - we also have our own dedicated Equalities Department.
The primary objective of the PFA Equalities Department is supporting players with issues around discrimination, including racism and racist incidents; tackling homophobia; addressing the under-representation of BAME coaches and managers in the game and the lack of British Born South Asian heritage players across the leagues.
Racism has never disappeared from society, nor football. With recent reports of clubs investigating racist and anti-Semitic incidents, we all have an opportunity and an obligation to stand against hate, in all its forms.
With this in mind, we welcome last weekend’s statement from the Premier League, warning fans that despite how essential their support is at games, they must not neglect their conduct.
The statement urged fans attending a Premier League match who witness racist or discriminatory behaviour to report it to a steward or submit details to Kick It Out, via the reporting form on their website, or via their app.
The PFA whole-heartedly supports this sentiment and would add that for players, a stadium is a place of work, and derogatory abuse is not acceptable there, or anywhere else in football, nor wider society.
However, we must also stress that the issue of racism and discrimination is not confined to one league. What happens in the Premier League is always reflected across other leagues. Any abuse of players, at all levels of the sport, is taken very seriously by the PFA and is something we work hard to eradicate.
Over 90% of clubs across both the Premier League and English Football League have now received our Equality and Diversity training, which informs our members of the processes through which they can report racist and other discriminatory incidents.
Ensuring that we teach players the correct reporting procedures should they suffer or witness any discrimination, both on and off the field, is an essential part of protecting our members.
While it is vital that players across all leagues are aware of the procedure for reporting abuse, it is also crucial that fans of all clubs play their part in addressing this issue – regardless of the level at which their team competes.
We know there is still significant work to be done based on member feedback, with players overwhelmingly agreeing that discrimination is a problem in English football - and clubs based in communities with a broader ethnic mix agreeing most strongly.
Throughout 2018, PFA members have been working with Show Racism the Red Card to educate young people about racism, hosting 27 events with football clubs. Over 50 current and 17 former professional players took part, reaching just under 3000 young people, with hopes to work with as many clubs as possible in 2019.
Experienced Discrimination In The Game?
If you are a PFA member who has experienced or witnessed racist abuse or other forms of discrimination, we want to hear from you and have support systems in place to assist you. Please email us on: email@example.com or call: 0207 329 9966.