November 14 – The new head of English football’s anti-discrimination organisation Kick It Out, Sanjay Bhandari, has outlined plans to improve the situation following a worrying resurgence of racism across the domestic game that has fuelled demands for more action from the governing bodies.
Bhandari will lead a strategic review with all staff and trustees involved alongside the entire football community.
“I will learn just as much from our most ardent critics as from our most loyal advocates,” he told reporters this week at his first media gathering since taking over.
“This is a societal problem, not just a football problem, but football has a unique ability to influence social attitudes and can effect positive social change.”
Although England players received racist abuse from Bulgaria supporters at their recent European qualifier in Sofia, which led to a stadium ban, domestic instances of racism have also been highlighted in recent months.
Bhandari, who has replaced Lord Herman Ouseley, will be speaking to the Premier League, the English FA and those from across the professional and grassroots game as part of a widespread review.
“We are a small team of 18 fiercely committed and passionate staff trying to serve the entire football industry. That is not sustainable,” he said.
“We cannot attempt to solve these vast problems alone. Players and fans will be at the heart of what we do. Football is a sprawling, extended and sometimes dysfunctional family. We need to collaborate more. I hope that Kick It Out can become the galvanising force to bring the football family together to focus on solutions.”
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