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Kick It Out study: 'Still significant work to be done' to combat discrimination

Speaking exclusively to ESPN, Paul Pogba discusses racism in football and how he admires players from all backgrounds.

Managers are being urged to do more after figures for last season showed a 16.7 percent increase in discrimination within the English game.

Kick It Out released the statistics with an accompanying warning that "there is still significant work to be done," and will launch a film and booklet for club bosses in the next few weeks explaining the difference they can make and identifying discriminatory language.

The organisation received 469 reports of problems last season, up from 402 the year before, and nearly half related to race. The total incidents figure for the 2012-13 season was just 77.

"I'd like to see managers do more," Kick It Out chief executive Roisin Wood told ESPN FC. "They have a strong voice internally and externally at clubs, and can set the whole tone.

"We've had great support from many managers throughout the years but we really want them to be clear because they are strong spokespersons. They can dictate, in many ways, what goes on inside the dressing room.

"The manager is the key person in any club. It's really important that they are confident, feel empowered to say what is and isn't acceptable."

Kick It Out campaign
Kick It Out released its most recent findings on Monday.

Nearly half of last term's incidents -- 206 or 44 percent -- were linked to the professional game, and more than half of those to the Premier League. This season, too, there have already been problems for Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku and Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata with racist chanting.

Last season's total figure, excluding grassroots, represented a 53 percent year-on-year increase, and it is hoped that more education for managers will help arrest the upward trend.

West Ham's Slaven Bilic, Brighton's Chris Hughton, Sheffield Wednesday's Carlos Carvalhal and Chelsea Ladies boss Emma Hayes have been filmed discussing discrimination and their experiences for the Kick It Out video, which will be distributed by the League Managers Association, in a bid to improve understanding.

Most of the incidents in the professional game last term involved fans, but there were 12 incidents involving players, managers or club staff.

At grassroots level, where Kick It Out claims incidents are significantly under-reported, there were a total of 78 problems relayed to the organisation. There were also 197 incidents on social media.

Overall, last season was the fifth in succession to show a rise in reported incidents of discrimination, but England is often seen as a European leader in tackling these issues and it is hard to draw conclusions.

"Is it [the increase in incidents] because there is more discrimination in the game, or is it because people are more confident about reporting? I don't have the answer to that," said Wood.

In a statement, she added: "Discrimination is still prevalent within the beautiful game. As we head towards the 25th anniversary of the organisation in August 2018, 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."

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