The number of reports of discrimination in English football have risen in the past year to 184.
The anti-discrimination organisation Kick It Out have reported a 35% increase in the period August-December 2014. This compares with the same period in the 2013-2014 football season when there were 136 grievances received by the organisation.
The breakdown of these complaints shows that racism and anti-semitism were the most common forms of abuse recorded.
The complaints received came from every level of English football, from grassroots to premier league, and involved top footballers as well as fans.
At a sweeping majority 60% of the discrimination that was reported originated online, in social media.
While these figures may at first give the impression that football discrimination is on the rise, both the Football Association and Kick It Out are treating these figures as a positive sign. It is believed that the increase in the number of reports of discrimination denotes a growing refusal to accept bigotry in football. Moreover, it is thought that this increase demonstrates that people are less tolerant of prejudice generally and more willing to come forward and complain about incidents.
However, Roisin Wood, the director of Kick It Out, said that she believes these numbers “barely scratch the surface of a widespread problem”.
These figures are released in the same month that the Metropolitan Police are investigating an alleged racist incident involving Chelsea fans in Paris and while the British Transport Police are making inquiries about a separate incident involving Chelsea supporters on a train to Manchester.
Lord Herman Ouseley, Kick It Out chairman, said that “Major improvements have been made over the last 30 years” but that the incident in Paris “reminded people that such things still go on below the radar.”
Lord Ouseley went on to point out that these problems are not solely the responsibility of those in football: “there is a persistent problem, there is prejudice in society, which is being increased by the anti-Europe, anti-immigrant, anti-benefit scroungers drip-drip in politics.”