Discrimination in Football

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:01 pm on 11th April 2019.

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Photo of Mims Davies Mims Davies Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 1:01 pm, 11th April 2019

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his tone and collegiate approach on this issue. It is right that we stand and work together on the issue of intolerance, whether it happens in sport or our communities. Football cannot and should not be used as a cloak for racism and intolerance, and it is sad that players have decided to walk off the pitch because they have simply had enough. I applaud them. They reserve the right to stay on the pitch and do their job, and enjoy the game, and they reserve the right to walk off and do what they feel is right. We should be willing to tackle the ugly side, as the hon. Gentleman describes it, of the beautiful game.

Members on both sides of the House will have heard the reaction from Danny Rose, which was heartbreaking. We need to support the bravery of players to do their jobs and to speak out in this day and age, but they should not feel they have to do that. It is right that players should take action and we are working with the police to make sure that we support them. The UK Football Policing Unit, alongside the Home Office, will continue to work on concerns about hate crime, football and the rise of the far right coming together to spread intolerance and fear in our communities. It is right that we use the Online Harms White Paper in this, and the Secretary of State has just said that harassment will be included. It is right that sports stars and others on the frontline can be supported through this process.

Let us stop this. Let us stand up to it. Everybody needs to be on the right side of this and call it out. Let us support Show Racism the Red Card and Kick It Out. People should use the app and report to their clubs. People in the stands know who these people are, and we need to make sure they do not do it in our name, the name of our club or the name of football.