Leeds United say 'racism will not be tolerated' after shocking Home Office arrest figures released

Leeds United said 'racism will not be tolerated' after shocking Home Office arrest figures revealed 15 supporters have been arrested in the past four seasons for racism-related offences.

Tuesday, 18th June 2019, 10:21 am

Data released under a Freedom of Information request by the Press Association showed that the supporters were involved in more football-related arrests where racism was an aggravating factor or a feature than every other club apart from Manchester United - who had 27 arrests - and Milwall who also had 15.

The figures cover the seasons of 2014-15 to 2017-18.

Elland Road.

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The data shows an overall total of 107 arrests where racism was recorded as a feature during the 2014-15 season, rising to 114 in 2015-16.

Figures then dropped over the next two seasons - with 94 arrests recorded in 2016-17 and just 75 in 2017-18.

Other clubs with arrests in double figures are West Ham (11), with Barnsley, Manchester City, Middlesbrough and Sunderland all on 10.

Today, Leeds United said they have made "great steps towards making improvements".

The statement read: "Leeds United acknowledges today’s report from the Home Office.

"Racism will not be tolerated by our club or by the vast majority of our community and fan base.

"We have worked closely with West Yorkshire Police and the British Transport Police in recent years, in an effort to reduce the number of arrests involving our supporters at our games in general.

"Measures have been taken, such as sending stewards with supporters travelling on public transport, which has helped to reduce the number of arrests by 65% since 2014.

"A Supporter Advisory Board was also set up in 2017 which convenes every four months and welcomes supporters from all walks of life to help the club become more inclusive.

"We believe that we have made great steps towards making improvements - however clearly this is a work in progress and we are committed with the help of The FA, EFL, Kick It Out and Police to do anything we can to eradicate this vile issue from the game.

"We would ask any supporters who experience any acts of racism to contact us immediately using our matchday incident text service on 07887 514 789 or by emailing [email protected]"

The 2018-19 season in England was marred by a series of racism-related incidents and arrests.

Data for the season just ended is set to be released later this summer.

In response to the Home Office data obtained by the Press Association concerning arrests, a statement from Kick It Out read: "These figures show racism is a nationwide problem shared by clubs of all different sizes in all parts of the country.

"We support them in challenging racism and other forms of discrimination, and will continue our programme of education in the game to help reduce this problem."

Where racism has been recorded as a feature of an incident, it requires the arresting officer to tick a box, which is why the Home Office says the overall accuracy of the data cannot be guaranteed.