The Football Association is reportedly considering increasing the minimum sanction for discriminatory behaviour to a ten-match ban.
This comes after figures showed that reported cases in the professional game rose by 46 per cent last season.
In an alarming rise that supports anecdotal evidence of a growing issue, as indicated by the racial abuse suffered by Raheem Sterling and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang last season, the reporting of racist incidents increased by 67.3 per cent, from 110 to 184 cases, according to Kick It Out, football’s equality organisation.
The FA have increased the minimum tariff for discrimination from a five to a six-match ban in May.
However, in light of the new figures the organisation wants to raise it again.
In a joint letter to the minister for sport, Mims Davies, the FA, Premier League and EFL have pledged to work together to create more opportunities for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people in football, as well as applying stronger sanctions for those guilty of discriminatory behaviour.
World football’s governing body FIFA doubled its minimum sanction for racist incidents to ten matches last month and the FA will consider following suit.
“We are determined to help reduce all forms of discrimination at every level of the game, from grass roots to elite,” an FA spokesman said.
“It’s a matter that we take very seriously and we have already started a consultation process with key stakeholders across the game, including the Leagues, the PFA, the LMA, Kick It Out and others, with the aim of reviewing our sanctioning guidelines for proven cases of discrimination.
“This review involves working on a range of projects to combat discrimination, both on and off the pitch. As part of this, we are reviewing what the minimum match-based suspension for proven cases of discrimination should be to ensure the deterrent in place is appropriate and effective.”
The FA has committed to creating new sentencing guidelines for racist incidents by September. The three football bodies have also pledged to review how clubs sanction and educate offenders, to improve the training of stewards, and to introduce new reporting methods to enable fans to make the authorities aware of concerns or incidents of discrimination.
This is the seventh consecutive year in which reported incidents of discrimination in football have increased.
Increasing racism in grounds was repeatedly highlighted last season, particularly by the Tottenham Hotspur fan who was given a four-year ban from football for throwing a banana skin at Arsenal’s Aubameyang at the Emirates Stadium.
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The Kick It Out figures also show that reports of discrimination, which have increased by 32 per cent across the sport, have risen in grassroots football by 3.8 per cent. That rise is largely down to an increase in discrimination based on sexual orientation, which is up by a third. Racism, which is up 43 per cent, also appears to be increasing away from the professional game, with 274 of the 422 grassroots incidents reported involving race.
Roisin Wood, the Kick It Out chief executive, attributed some of the problems to the impact of the debate around Brexit. “You can’t not link them together,” she said.
“We’re seeing a lot of reports of, ‘Go back to where you came from,’ which we haven’t seen for a while, which seems to be on the back of Brexit. Football reflects the society it is played and watched in, and these figures are sadly not surprising.”