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Hate crime in football – ‘For the Love of the Game’ event held in Manchester

A research project called “For the Love of the Game” held an event at the National Football Museum last month.

The project was led by Dr. Mark Doidge, reader in sociology of sport at Loughborough University, and the event discussed the findings from workshops around the country on the issue of hate crime in football.

Expert panel discuss hate crime in football

Dr. Doidge completed the project alongside Dr. Aarti Ratana from Solent University and Dr. Fiona Skillen from Glasgow Caledonian University. They were also supported by the Football Supporters’ Association’s ‘Fans for Diversity’ campaign.

At the event, the expert panel to discuss hate crime in football included a Sport and Exercise Psychology student and football player, the FSA’s Fans For Diversity Campaign Manager, Nilesh Chauhan, and Mohammed Ullah of the Manchester City fan group called ‘Blue Crescent’. Both discussed instances of discrimination against marginalised groups and how fans are fighting against hate crime in football.

Chauhan said: “It was a great event that delved deep into the complexities of hate crime and football and what the potential solutions are.”

“The team at Loughborough University deserve huge credit for their work on this project – particularly Mark Doidge and Aarti Ratna whose guidance ensured that our discussions were engaging and productive.”

The panel’s key findings

The expert panel found that there are still many existing barriers for match going fans. A list of the existing issues includes:

  • Barriers for disabled fans to attend matches due to a lack of suitable facilities and supportive stewards at some stadiums.
  • As a result, there have been instances of disabled fans having to sit in the home end, resulting in abuse.
  • Marginalised groups, e.g., LGBT+, women’s and racialised groups. They have found a voice in stadiums, providing a sense of community and solidarity. However, this has led to some groups being targeted.
  • The panel concluded that clubs and the FSA’s Fans for Diversity can help support these fans and ensure the message that all fans have a right to be in a football stadium is reinforced.

You can find out more about the “For the Love of the Game” campaign here.


Will Murray

Freelance football journalist. Experience writing for When Saturday, Comes, Goalkeeper.com, Elite Scholars and Total Football Analysis. Recently finished an MA in Sport Journalism at the University of Brighton. Long-time season ticket holder at the two-time European Champions Nottingham Forest.

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