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Fans, racism and British football in the 21st century: the existence of a colour-blind ideology

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journal contribution
posted on 2013-04-16, 13:12 authored by Jamie Cleland, Ellis Cashmore
This article draws on 2,500 responses from association football (soccer) fans to an anonymous online survey posted from November 2011 to February 2012 examining the extent of racism in British football. The overall findings are that half of all fans are still witnessing or experiencing some form of racism. Despite the creation of anti-racist initiatives, such as Kick It Out, and a reduction in overt chanting, there exists a ‘colour-blind’ ideology amongst the game’s governing bodies and anti-racist organisations as the extent of the problem is largely being ignored. Fans call for a long-term focus on anti-racism based on engagement and education within a greater range of social settings and, short-term, the implementation of more severe punishments by the game’s governing bodies to eliminate racist behaviour amongst fans, players and clubs. For current and ex-players that continue to receive racial abuse through social media sites like Twitter, fans urge them to report it and place these matters in the hands of the police.



  • Social Sciences


  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies


CLELAND, J. and CASHMORE, E., 2014. Fans, racism and British football in the 21st century: the existence of a colour-blind ideology. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 40 (4), pp. 638-654.


© Taylor & Francis


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publication date



This article was published in the journal, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies [© Taylor & Francis] and the definitive version is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2013.777524


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