From reports released today by British Transport Police (BTP), concerning 128 incidents of a racial nature dealt with by BTP, Leeds United are placed as the joint second-worst offender since 2012. Leeds are joint-second (10 incidents) behind Premier League giants Chelsea (15 incidents) and tying with Manchester United (10 incidents). The results were for the last three years and were gathered from the BTP and 24 police forces across the country with Greater Manchester police reporting 46 incidents out of the ‘more than 350’ reported incidents country-wide. It is thought that these figures represent the tip of the iceberg with around half the forces not reporting back their figures.
Gavin Sutherland, from anti-racism charity ‘Show Racism The Red Card’, highlighted the fact that racism, a matter of concern in wider society, is still filtering through into the sporting arena saying [ITV.com 24/Mar/15],
“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. People who exhibit racist behaviours in 2015 are doing so, in the main, away from football grounds.”
No club likes to be tarnished with what is a particularly nasty element such as that associated with racism, this is especially so at Leeds United. Supporters of Leeds have been urged to report any incidents of racism at the club, even more so after the release of these figures. Ray Fell, chairman of the Leeds United Supporters’ Club, said in an interview with the Yorkshire Evening Post [24/Mar/15] that,
“I would advise the decent Leeds fans where they come across it [racism/racist chanting] to report it. It’s something that puts a stigma on the rest of us and we don’t want it.”