Sunderland AFC take proactive stance after new figures for alleged hate crimes at football matches released

Sunderland AFC say they will not tolerate any incidents of discrimination after new figures for alleged hate crimes at football matches were released.

Thursday, 21st November 2019, 3:26 pm
The Stadium of Light red and white seats. Picture by FRANK REID
The Stadium of Light red and white seats. Picture by FRANK REID

And Black Cats officials say they will continue to be proactive in encouraging supporters to report any such incidents.

It comes as new figures released by the Home Office reveal Burnley supporters were reported for alleged hate crimes at football matches more often than any other club in England or Wales over the last two completed seasons.

There were 17 instances where the Clarets were reported, while Manchester United, Sunderland and West Ham were the subject of 13 reports each, a request under the Freedom of Information Act by the PA news agency has found.

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Fifteen of the 17 reports concerning Burnley related to discrimination on the grounds of race, while two related to sexual orientation.

In the case of Manchester United, nine related to race, one to religion and three to sexual orientation.

Twelve of the reports related to Sunderland supporters had to do with race, with one related to sexual orientation.

West Ham were reported for six race-related offences, four linked to religion and three to sexual orientation.

The data covers matches in England and Wales in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 campaigns.

Sunderland and Burnley highlighted their own proactive policies for reporting abuse among their own support.

A spokesperson for Sunderland AFC said: "We pride ourselves on the Stadium of Light being an inclusive venue, where hundreds of thousands of people attend matches every season, in a safe and welcoming environment.

"Any incidents of discrimination, no matter how isolated, are simply not tolerated and working closely with supporters groups, we are proactive in encouraging our fans to report any such incidents.

"We work hand in hand with the police to ensure all evidence is passed to them so they can pursue criminal prosecutions wherever possible.

"In turn, we support this process with a very clear club sanction policy which has been discussed and agreed with our supporters representatives.

“The success of the very robust investigation process we have adopted is highlighted by these figures."