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Racism in football: Government must work with us on problem, says FA’s Paul Elliott

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In 2013, Elliott became the first black footballer to collect a CBE at Buckingham Palace – to mark his services to equality and diversity in football

The Football Association’s Paul Elliott has called for the government to work alongside the sport’s governing bodies to combat racism.

Statistics compiled by football anti-discrimination campaigners Kick It Out suggested there had been a 43% increase in racist abuse in English football in 2018-19 from the previous season.

“We in football are giving off a message about zero tolerance,” said the FA’s inclusion advisory board chief.

“The government has to be alongside.”

In December, the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) called for a government inquiry into racist abuse which followed alleged racist behaviour in the match between Tottenham and Chelsea.

Elliott added: “There has to be a duty of care because the by-product of speaking out will be the positive impact and the positive behaviour in stadiums, which will then have a domino effect on societal behaviour.

“With the utmost respect, this is one area where there has to be a united front – we must be together.”

The government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said in a statement: “Racism or any form of discrimination has no place in football or society, and we must confront this vile behaviour.

“We are completely committed to working closely with football on tackling racism.

“The FA, Premier League and English Football League set out before the start of the season how they are taking further steps to address this issue. We are monitoring how their plans progress and are in regular dialogue with the football authorities throughout the season.”

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