REPORTS of racism in English football are up by more than 50 PER CENT this season.
And Kick It Out chief executive Tony Burnett claims there is a “nasty underbelly” in grounds.
The anti-racism charity has received “just over 50 per cent” more cases compared to when stadia were last full in the pre-pandemic 2019-20 season.
The news comes after Simon Silwood became the first fan to be jailed over online abuse of a player, West Brom’s Romaine Sawyers.
Burnett said: “What we’re seeing is a massive increase in reports of incidents at grounds.
“There’s a nasty underbelly at the minute in terms of behaviour.
“People think it’s OK to share views that 20 years ago were just seen as abhorrent.
“Some of the language that people are using in grounds we thought went out years ago.
“Our discrimination cases are up just over 50 per cent this season.
“In the professional game, most of what we get reported is at grounds.”
Kick It Out has worked tirelessly with the FA, Premier League and EFL to improve the reporting of incidents of discrimination, whether it is in grounds or online.
Burnett added: “It’s not just black people saying this is not acceptable any more, it is society saying this is not acceptable.
“Allies from all backgrounds say ‘no, we’re not having this’. So, that’s a huge positive.
“Over the last 12 months I’m seeing a change in society.”