Kick It Out data shows rise in 'incidents of hate' in football
An anti-discrimination organisation says it is seeing "incidents of hate" in football every week.
Kick It Out says it received 402 reports of discrimination last season, up from 393 in 2014-15. Of those, 135 were in the professional game.
The most significant rise in reporting concerned social media, with 194 reported incidents, an increase of 18%.
The Kick It Out report comes just a day after new figures suggested a 20% rise in hate crimes in England and Wales.
The organisation is now calling on sponsors and football authorities to work together to tackle the issue.
Kick It Out chairman Lord Herman Ouseley said education projects would help.
He also cited the sport's ability to bring "people of all backgrounds together to play and participate", but warned: "Young people are vulnerable to the increased levels of prejudice and hate which has been evidenced by increases in reported hate crimes and incidents."
Kick It Out also called for more diversity among football's leaders, pointing to the domination of white men at the top of the game.
The 402 incidents reported to the organisation last season meant there has been a year-on-year rise since it first started collating statistics in 2012-13.
- Of the 135 incidents relating to the professional game, 122 involved fans.
- 13 were allegations against players, coaches and managers - almost double the number from last year.
- There was a 2% fall in the number incidents at grassroots level, to 73.
- 54% of incidents related to racial discrimination, 20.5% to faith, 17% to sexual orientation and 7% to gender.
"The game is under the microscope and every week incidents of hate are being witnessed," Kick It Out said.
"This situation is being exacerbated by the recent worrying levels of hate and prejudice in society that will negatively impact on the sport," it added.
Reports are made to Kick It Out through its website, telephone hotline, email, social media, and a mobile phone app.
The latest figures from the Football Association show 902 allegations of discrimination were made last season, a fall of six from last year.
The total includes those incidents reported to Kick it Out.