What is being done to address Racism in the Premier League?

Racism remains high in football and the Premier League but what is being done to address this persistent issue?

What is being done to address Racism in the Premier League f

"There is no place in society for any form of discrimination"

Addressing racism has become a pressing priority not only in society but also within football.

The Premier League has been under increasing scrutiny regarding its efforts to combat racism and promote inclusivity.

Despite the Premier League’s No Room for Racism and players taking a knee in solidarity, questions remain over what measures are being taken to address this issue.

From educational programmes and collaboration with stakeholders, significant steps have been taken to tackle this pervasive issue.

Let’s explore what the Premier League is doing to confront racism head-on and create a positive impact on and off the pitch.

Incidents of Premier League Players facing Racism

In recent weeks, Premier League players have been subjected to racism.

Nicolas Jackson

What is being done to address Racism in the Premier League

Following Chelsea’s FA Cup semi-final defeat against Manchester City, Nicolas Jackson became the victim of racism.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side lost 1-0 to City at Wembley in a game in which Jackson missed three promising chances.

In a statement, Chelsea said: “There is no place in society for any form of discrimination and we operate a zero-tolerance approach to any incident of this nature.

“The club will support any criminal prosecutions and take the strongest possible action, including bans, against any individual who is found to be a season ticket-holder or member.”

Morgan Gibbs-White

What is being done to address Racism in the Premier League 2

Racist abuse was allegedly aimed at Nottingham Forest’s Morgan Gibbs-White from a Wolves fan.

The incident occurred when the two sides drew 2-2 at the City Ground on April 13, 2024, Forest said they “condemn racism and all other forms of discrimination”.

They added they “will continue to work with the authorities on the matter and won’t be commenting further whilst the investigation is ongoing”.

The Premier League said:

“We stand alongside Morgan Gibbs-White and Nottingham Forest in condemning racist abuse.”

“Discrimination in any form will not be tolerated by the Premier League and our clubs and we continue to encourage supporters to report it both at stadiums and online.”

Luton Town

Luton Town released a powerful social media video, revealing the extent of racist abuse aimed at players.

Titled We’re All Luton, the video showed backroom staff reading racist messages aimed at players.

Both Carlton Morris and Elijah Adebayo were victims of alleged racist abuse earlier this season.

Manager Rob Edwards said he was aware of “weekly” racist abuse.

He said: “It’s almost as if they are resigned to it. [Players say] ‘I get it all the time. I just know what to do now’.

“That bit is sad. I find it sad [the players] say to me, ‘It’s fine. It’s just what happens’.

“I don’t even want to say that it is getting better, because people will say to me it is not.

“That’s why I feel angry because I love my players – every one of them.”

What are the 6 Pillars of Commitment?

In 2021, the Premier League set up six pillars of commitment.

It aimed at creating greater access to opportunities and career progression for Black, Asian and other minority ethnic groups in football, along with actions to eradicate racial prejudice.

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said:

“Football is a diverse sport, which brings together communities and cultures from all backgrounds.

“This diversity has made the game stronger on the pitch and it is vital we ensure this is reflected across all areas of the game.

“The No Room For Racism Action Plan underpins the Premier League’s continued commitment to promoting equality and tackling discrimination.

“It builds on the wide-ranging work undertaken by clubs, aiming to ensure that everyone can achieve their potential, regardless of background.

“There is no place for racism in our sport and the Premier League will continue to take action against all forms of discrimination so that football is inclusive and welcoming for all.”

When it comes to the six pillars of commitment, they are:

Executive Pathways

In 2021, the workforce exhibited limited diversity with only 37% being female and 12% representing black, Asian, or ethnic minority backgrounds.

The Premier League has established targets for 2026, aiming for two female board members and one board member from a black, Asian or ethnic minority background.

Additionally, they strive for 26% female representation and 18% ethnic minority representation across the entire Premier League workforce.

Looking ahead to 2031, their goals include a 40% female board and 20% from an ethnic minority background.

Company-wide, they aspire to achieve a 50% female workforce and 30% ethnic minority representation throughout the Premier League.

To realise these objectives, they’ve initiated enhanced apprenticeships and placement opportunities, fostering career progression for current Premier League members and attracting new talent.

Coaching Pathways

They established a diversity goal for coach development programs and courses, such as their Premier League Coach Inclusion and Diversity Scheme.

This is to encourage individuals from diverse backgrounds to pursue coaching careers.

Player Pathways

The Premier League implemented surveys and reviews to understand the experiences of players who experience discrimination so they can improve their situation.

Supporting Communities

The Premier League pledged to offer more actionable and beneficial guidance to club community organisations.

These are aimed to enhance programme effectiveness and the experiences of individuals from black, Asian, or ethnic minority backgrounds who are involved in these initiatives.

Action against Racism

The league created an online reporting system to allow fans to challenge and report any discriminatory behaviour against players or individuals involved in football, whether on matchdays or online.

This system also facilitates legal action for those who choose to pursue it, providing the necessary support.

The Premier League initiated collaborations with authorities like the FA and the Police to enhance the effectiveness of combating racism.

Furthermore, resources were provided to schools to start educating against racism as early as possible, ensuring that the significance of diversity within football is comprehended and respected from the outset.

Embedding Equality

To set clear diversity targets and provide guidance on achieving them for clubs, they shifted towards an outcome-oriented approach to ensure tangible change is taking place.

The focus on meeting EY’s National Equality Standard to measure the best practices and improve the experiences of those from black, Asian or ethnic minority backgrounds.

Premier League Commitments

The league announced their three-year update in April 2024 to highlight the outcomes of their promises.

It has stated that 88% of individuals who participated in the league’s inclusive coaching programs are currently employed full-time by clubs.

Within the Premier League workforce, 19.3% hail from ethnically diverse backgrounds, including two board members.

The South Asian Action Plan qualifiers, organised by six Premier League clubs, engage 1,344 boys and girls.

Over 19,000 schools have received educational materials related to the No Room for Racism action plan, aimed at fostering awareness and preventing future instances of racism.

A total of 26 clubs have embraced the Premier League’s standards for equality, diversity and inclusion, with 17 reaching an advanced level.

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said:

“We are pleased that progress continues to be made against the targets we set three years ago when we launched the No Room For Racism Action Plan.

“We know more can be done, so both the League and our clubs will continue to prioritise this work as we look to create meaningful change. 

“This change takes time, but we are moving in the right direction and are committed to breaking down barriers and providing more opportunities for people from under-represented groups.

“We will also continue supporting players and others within the game who are victims of racist abuse.

“We have a team of experts dedicated to this and will work with social media companies, the Government and authorities to ensure legislation and barriers are in place while doing all we can to ensure those responsible are punished.”

What happens to those who commit Racist Abuse?

A comprehensive observer programme is now in place for every Premier League game.

This is to ensure behaviour is actively monitored and can be reported as necessary.

Individuals with reported incidents are subject to potential automatic stadium bans and legal actions, which could impact their educational and career prospects, potentially resulting in jail sentences.

In one case in December 2023, a football fan who racially abused former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand was jailed for six months and banned from watching live matches for seven years.

Jamie Arnold uttered racist remarks and made monkey gestures at Ferdinand, who was working as a pundit for TNT Sports.

While challenges persist, the Premier League’s commitment to addressing racism is evident through its multifaceted approach.

From stringent monitoring of behaviours during games to educational initiatives, progress is being made to foster a more inclusive and respectful environment in football.

However, the journey toward eradicating racism entirely is ongoing, requiring continuous effort, collaboration and vigilance from all stakeholders involved.

The steps taken by the Premier League serve as a testament to the collective determination to create a future where racism has no place in football or society at large.

Dhiren is a News & Content Editor who loves all things football. He also has a passion for gaming and watching films. His motto is to "Live life one day at a time".

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