Racism is widespread in English football with police having to deal with hundreds of incidents from the top of the game right down to grassroots level, an investigation has revealed.
It also revealed Chelsea supporters have been involved in the most number of reported racist incidents as they travelled to and from matches on trains.
It follows the high profile case of a black man who was prevented from boarding a train in Paris by Chelsea fans as they sang a racist song, with five of them
The information, gathered from 24 police forces across England, shows there have been over 350 incidents since 2012.
But as that only accounts for around half the police forces in the country, the actual figure is likely to be much higher.
The charity Show Racism The Red Card said the number of incidents shows that racism is a societal problem and it was particularly shocked by the number of incidents of racist abuse at children’s matches.
The British Transport Police said since 2012 it had dealt with 15 incidents of alleged racism involving Chelsea fans, the most of any club in the country.
Manchester United were second with 10 incidents, followed by Leeds with 10, West Ham with eight, Arsenal with four and Portsmouth with four.
Greater Manchester police reported 46 incidents, which included a man cleaning a toilet in a stadium being told “that’s a f****** black man’s job, you f****** n*****” and a manager at a children’s game being told “I’ll do you, I’m gonna wait for you outside, I’m going to do you, you f****** n*****”.
The force also said on two occasions a letter was written to a specific footballer containing racist abuse and during a game someone shouted “what is this the United Nations, how many chinks and wogs do you need?”
Hertfordshire Police recorded 11 incidents of alleged racist abuse at children’s football games, while Northamptonshire Police said that during a non-league game a man was spat at and racially abused before eventually having his leg broken in a strong challenge.
Gavin Sutherland, campaign co-ordinator at Show Racism The Red Card, said: “This data from police forces around the UK shows that although football clubs have taken strong action against people using racist language inside stadiums, racism is a real problem within society.
Due to the fact some police forces were unable to provide the information or did not reply to the request, Sutherland said there would certainly be a greater number of cases.
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