More than half (54%) of football fans around the world have witnessed racist abuse while watching games. Yet only just over a quarter (28%) said they would know how to report such incidents. That is the revelation from a global survey conducted by campaign group Kick It Out.
27,000 football supporters from 38 countries around the world were polled.
In the UK alone, 50% of fans said they have witnessed racist abuse while attending games and only 40% said they would know how to report it.
The highest reported racist abuse was by fans in Peru, where 77% said they had witnessed such incident. This was the same in Costa Rica, and 71% in Colombia.
In stark contrast at the other end of the spectrum, only 38% of fans in the Netherlands said they have ever witnessed racist abuse at a football match. Only 41% of Russian fans responding said they have witnessed anything they would class as racist abuse, the second lowest of any.
As many as 60% of fans globally said they would support points deductions for clubs or national teams whose clubs are found guilty of racist abuse. That idea is most supported in Ghana (83%) and Colombia (77%), and least supported in Russia (34%) and Ukraine (42%).
Around the world, an average of 84% of fans said they would feel comfortable with a player from a different race or ethnic background to themselves representing their club or national team. Breaking that down by country it ranges from 95% in Norway, 94% in Sweden and 93% in Brazil, down to just 11% in Saudi Arabia and 19% in UAE.
In terms of the top five leagues in Europe, those figures are 93% for France, 92% for England, 77% for both Germany and Spain, and 71% for Italy.
Lord Ousely, chairman of Kick It Out, commented on the positive steps that football has taken to eliminate racism compared to 25 years ago, or even 10 years ago, yet at the same time expressed disappointment that instances of racist abuse should still be so prevalent.
"If you were asking this question 10 years ago, certainly 25 years ago, about how many fans had witnessed racist abuse it probably would have been about 90%, so the fact it's 50% is both disappointing and pleasing, because we've moved and are moving in the right direction," he said.
"What is disappointing is only around 40% [in the UK] know what to do about it. That's critical in terms of where we want to take football. We want football clubs and the authorities to be doing a lot more.
"There is a clear global trend towards an acceptance of the BAME community’s central role in football."— Kick It Out (@kickitout) November 21, 2018
Our Chair, Lord Ouseley, reflects on one of the positive insights taken from our research of fans across the world: https://t.co/DwCZ6Stpvo pic.twitter.com/jHEhrNdneA
"Around every football club there should be signs everywhere, there should be opportunities for people to download apps and complain either to clubs directly or to Kick It Out, or to the FA or the appropriate league."