Problems of racist behaviour inside football grounds can be effectively challenged by confronting racism in the community, a report published today suggests.
The report, written by academics at the Scarman Centre, University of Leicester, contains the findings of an evaluation of the Charlton Athletic Race Equality (CARE) Partnership, a multi-agency anti-racist initiative based in south London. The report arrives in the wake of recent incidents that highlight the re-emergence of racism and xenophobia as issues of major concern within football and society as a whole.
Jon Garland, co-author of the report, commented: "The research highlighted the vast array of innovative work that CARE has developed to promote diversity across the borough, and the popularity of these initiatives. By tackling racism in the community in such an inclusive and educational manner, CARE can effectively reduce racism at the football club".
A questionnaire survey of Charlton Athletic supporters conducted as part of the evaluation helped to illustrate the importance of CARE's role, as explained by the co-author of the report, Neil Chakraborti: "The survey findings showed that as many as four out of ten respondents had witnessed some form of racist or disorderly behaviour at Charlton's home matches during the 1999/00 season, with this proportion rising to seven out of ten at away matches. The existence of such high levels of racist and disorderly behaviour demonstrates the need for effective anti-racist initiatives at both the club and in the wider communities."
The report supports the approach adopted by the CARE Partnership in promoting anti-racism at Charlton Athletic and in the borough of Greenwich. The research found that the organisation of regular and well-received anti-racist events at the club on matchdays helped raise awareness amongst supporters; moreover, the development of a wide range of arts and sports initiatives incorporating a central theme of anti-racism encouraged an understanding of race equality amongst people of all ages, genders, abilities and ethnicities throughout the local communities.
Yasin Patel, manager of the CARE Partnership, believes that the findings will be invaluable in the struggle to eradicate racism from the national game: "The research has helped to inform our future direction and I hope the findings can be used to further the development of anti-racist initiatives at other football clubs."
For further information, please contact: Jon Garland tel 0116 252 5701, email firstname.lastname@example.org; Neil Chakraborti tel 0116 252 5706, email email@example.com; Yasin Patel tel 020 8293 5355, email firstname.lastname@example.org
For copies of the report, please contact Yasin Patel on the above number.
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