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Frequently asked questions

We are often asked for statistics about racism in football, which are not always easy to find. We hope that the following FAQ may help. If you can't find the answer to your question here, email us at the address at the top of the page and we'll try to help.  If you can help by adding accurate information to that which follows, please do so by emailing us - including the source of your information.

How many racist incidents have there been at football matches?

It is impossible to give a definite answer to this, as some incidents go unreported, others will be reported but denied by the alleged perpetrator and never proven one way or the other.

During the 2010-11 season, there were 43 arrests for racist chanting at football matches in England and Wales, the highest total since 2005-6. In the 2009-10 season, there were 31 arrests, down from 36 in the 2008/09 season, but a rise from the 2007-8 season's tally of 23, which was the lowest on record. In the 2006-07 season, there were 41 arrests for racist chanting, and in 2005-06 there were 55 arrests. In the 2004-05 season, 51 people were arrested for racist chanting , down from 63 in the 2003-04 season, 74 in 2002-03, 46 in 2001-02 and 82 in 2000-2001. You can view the statistics on all football-related arrests and banning orders for the 2010-11 season at:

The 2009-10 statistics can be seen at:

and the previous few seasons' statistics are at:

The Centre for the Sociology of Sport at the University of Leicester used to conduct a survey of fans of Premier League clubs each year to gain their opinions on various matters. You can view a summary of the FA Premier League National Fan Survey 2001 at . On page 5 it says that 27% of fans had heard racism towards players in the 2000/01 season.

Reports of individual racist incidents can sometimes be found on the news page of the Kick It Out site ( or the FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe) site at

What percentage of fans at matches are from which ethnic group?

Every year a questionnaire is sent out to a sample of season ticket holders and other spectators for the FA Premier League. This includes a question about ethnic origin. The summary reports for each season from 2001-02 onwards are available as pdfs on the Premiership website at Click on the Premier League tab then on Publications, then on 'Fan Survey' for the season you want to know about.

To summarise, the 1997 survey found 98.8% of fans were white, in 2001/02 97.3% were white, in 2005/06 it was 96%, in 2006/07 95% and in 2007/08 it was 94%. As with any statistical survey it’s not necessarily 100% accurate and the methodology used has changed a bit over the years – in the earlier years it mainly surveyed season ticket holders by post. The 2006/07 survey included an email survey for the first time which probably increased the number of younger fans taking part, and more effort has been made in recent years to include people who attend matches but don’t have season tickets.

Earlier surveys from 1994/95 to 2000/01 were carried out by the Sir Norman Chester Centre for Football Research at the University of Leicester. Brief information can be seen at but the reports are not available online. The 1995/96 and 1998/99 season reports are available from the Football Unites library.

“According to the 2001 FA Premier League National Fan Survey (SNCCFR, 2001a) Black British or British Asian fans comprise only 0.8% of the total sample of active top level fans (compared to 0.7% in 1997) way below the figures for the population at large”
(This quote is  taken from the ‘Racism and Football’ factsheet, Centre for the Sociology of Sport, University of Leicester; see

The Racial Equality Standard for Professional Football Clubs is a framework document setting out a series of measures to support the development of race equality policies and practices at clubs. All Premier League clubs are working towards the standard. Clubs are required to collect information on  the current average number of ethnic minority fans.  A small number of clubs have done this survey of fans and made the results available. See for more information. If the results aren't available from this link they may be available from the club.

How many black professional players are there?

A 2004 survey estimated about 20% of players in the English league to be black.
The report is called ’Racial Equality in Football’, by the Commission for Racial Equality. You can read the whole report or a separate brief summary of its findings from the Online Resources page of this website. It surveyed clubs in the English leagues and other football organisations to find out how many players and other staff they have from minority groups, and what measures they’re taking to redress any imbalance. It doesn’t give a complete breakdown of the statistics for players’ ethnicity, but the overall estimate is on page 38. Figures for the Premier League are given on page 11; based on data from the 14 clubs that responded to the survey, 20.3% of players were black or black British; 4.1% were mixed race, 0.4% were Asian, 0.7% Chinese or other, and 74.5% white.

Steve Bradbury, also of the University of Leicester, conducted a survey of clubs in the FA Premier League and Football League for his report ’The New Football Communities’. A summary can be read online at On page 3 he estimates that 13% of professional players in England and Wales in the 1999/2000 season were British born black (this figure excludes foreign players). He also includes estimates of the numbers of black and Asian players in youth academies.

How many Asian professional players are there?


See our 'Where are the Asian players?' webpage.

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