Bassetlaw MP vows to help drive the racists out of football

John Mann MP
John Mann MP

This week, I raised the issue of racism in football at Prime Minister’s Questions, writes John Mann MP.

Over the past few months, we have seen unacceptable behaviour at football matches with racist chants and abuse towards black players.

Last Friday, the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) initiated a 24-hour social media campaign to boycott in protest over the increase of racism in football.

This campaign was backed by high-profile players, including Raheem Sterling, Danny Rose, Danny Welbeck and Chris Smalling and by FIFA.

The campaign aimed to show solidarity for those who are racially abused at football matches and to highlight that this issue needs to be addressed urgently.

In Parliament, the Deputy Prime Minister condemned the rise in racism in football and recommended that I have a meeting with the Minister for Sport to discuss how this can be tackled.

I have campaigned and worked on combating racism in football throughout my time in Parliament.

In 2010, I chaired a taskforce looking at how to address anti-semitism and Islamophobia in football for the FA.

It is disappointing that nearly a decade later, there is still a presence of racist abuse at football matches. To this end, over the past few years, I travelled round Europe to see how different football clubs tackle racism and manage fan behaviour at games. One football club that has really impressed me with its ability to deal with any issues from fans at matches is Borussia Dortmund in Germany.

It has a strong commitment to tackling racism in football and has recently donated one million euros to the Holocaust Memorial Centre in Israel.

This is a leading example of best practice in combating racism in football.

To recognise this, I tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament which has received 70 signatures across all parties.

I look forward to meeting and working with the Minister for Sport and other external organisations to create a comprehensive strategy to tackling racism in football.