In Leeds We Trust: Racism in football is becoming a crisis and it must be stopped

This week the Board of the Leeds United Supporters’ Trust fight back against the racist abuse that is being directed at players from the forums of social media and voice support for the LGBTQ+ community of Leeds fans.

Saturday, 10th April 2021, 11:45 am
Former Leeds player Kemar Roofe is just one player that has been subjected to racist abuse. Picture: Ian McNichol/PA Wire.

One of the best things about being part of a Supporters’ Trust of a Premier League club is that we are able to work closely with fans of other clubs on issues affecting our game.

We have worked with some amazing fans of Championship clubs over the past few years, but due to the popularity and profile of the Premier League, it feels like we can have a really meaningful impact on the way football fans are treated in this country.

Ideas and issues are constantly being debated, and we are glad that a fanbase as large and passionate as ours is now able to contribute to the discussion.

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A huge concern for football fans currently is the increase in racist abuse directed mainly at black football players via social media.

You might have seen some of the disgusting comments directed at ex-Leeds player Kemar Roofe over the last few weeks but unfortunately this is not an isolated incident.

Black footballers across the leagues are subjected to racism online on a weekly basis now with little sign of it slowing down.

This is becoming a crisis and it needs to be stopped.

We’re currently talking with the Football Supporters Association (FSA) along with other supporter groups about what we can do to prevent it, with a large-scale campaign in the works.

This will involve educating our fans about diversity, reporting racist abuse where we see it and importantly, lobbying social media companies to take responsibility for abuse published on their platforms.

As football fans, we have a duty to ensure that racism is not allowed to breed in our sport and communities, just as social media companies have a duty to ensure that racism is not allowed to breed on their platforms.

Last week, the Trust were invited to a meeting with Leeds United by our friends at Marching Out Together for a discussion about online abuse and what we can do as a club and a group of fans to help stamp it out when we see it.

Talking specifically about LGBTQ+ related abuse, it was clear that while condemnation and reporting is absolutely needed, we also need to focus on education and explanation as to why this abuse is not welcome in football, or in our wider society.

We are delighted that the club are being proactive about clamping down on online abuse, and pleased that they are willing to take suggestions from fans about how to make Elland Road a more inclusive place for all fans.

One of the Trust’s key objectives is to promote diversity and inclusivity in our fanbase, and this is reflected in our motto “Together We’re Stronger”.

Leeds United has only ever succeeded when everyone has been pulling together in the same direction, and we want to make sure that continues long into the future. If you’d like to add your voice to the discussion, you can join the Trust for just £10 per year.

Head over to our website to join: www.lufctrust.com