A CHARITY has given its backing to a new phone app which aims to kick racist thugs out of football.
Ged Grebby, founder of Show Racism the Red Card, has given his support to the app, which allows fans to quickly and easily report incidents directly at football grounds.
The move has also been applauded by former Black Cats defender Gary Bennett, a coach at the North East-based charity, which works with youngsters across Wearside.
“It’s another way for people to report racist behaviour,” said Ged.
As part of the new system, an instant message will be picked up by the stadium’s safety manager and can be investigated by police on site immediately.
The app, launched by anti-discrimination group Kick It Out to commemorate its 20th anniversary, will operate live at all 92 clubs in the top four divisions of English football this season.
Kick It Out officials say the app can lead to louts being prosecuted and possibly jailed.
However, Ged warned the app should not be seen as a “panacea” for the problem.
“Racism needs to be tackled in a variety of ways,” said Ged.
“The clubs also need to be supportive.
“Thankfully, here in the North East, Sunderland and Newcastle are two of the best Premier League teams in terms of support, giving us access to players, facilities and publicity.”
Kick It Out officials conducted a survey last season, which showed only 47 per cent of fans knew how to report abuse that could be deemed racist, homophobic, sexist or against minority groups.
PFA chairman Clarke Carlisle, who is a Kick It Out ambassador, said: “Football needs to connect with the modern age and this app cuts out the middle man.
“One problem we’ve had is people haven’t known how or where to report abuse.
“Now, this app will ensure the information goes directly to who needs to hear it and can be instantly acted upon.
“So, there will be no time wasted and even generic enquiries can go through the app.”
The move follows issues raised by the John Terry and Luis Suarez racism cases, which included criticism of Kick It Out’s response by some players, and a drive to make clubs take more responsibility for tackling discrimination.