The Most Popular Sport in the World- Still Plagued by Racism


The Most Popular Sport in the World- Still Plagued by Racism Football is the most popular sport in the world and is still expanding its popularity internationally. In the 2018 Russian World Cup, there was an estimation of 3.4 billion viewers worldwide, which means half of the world population were watching the World Cup. Despite Football’s popularity in the world, racism is still prevalent on the pitch. Over 54% of fans globally have witnessed racist abuse.

In 2017, reported incidents of discrimination at English professional football matches have risen by 53% in a year, according to equality organisation Kick It Out. The numbers are surprising given the fact that one-third of the players are black in the Premier League. There were 197 instances on social media, 194 in the professional game and 78 at the grassroots level.

Among the reports, a vast majority of them involved fans, but there were also 12 cases that involved players, managers, or club staff. Roisin Wood, who is the chief executive of Kick It Out, expresses that, “It is a timely reminder that there is still significant work to be done to ensure all participants can feel safe and included in the sport.”

This is especially important at the grassroots level, where a large scale of underreporting might exist due to the lack of regulations. Racism is also very common in Eastern European countries, where players celebrate with the infamous “Nazi Salute.”

Since football is a multi-national sport that involves professional players around the world with different races and ethnicities, football associations from every country should be aware of the increasing trend of racism on the pitch and social media. A more race friendly environment will not only increase Football’s popularity but also enhances players’ performance on the pitch.

Marvin Kwang