23 February 2016
Everyone has the right – whether employees, volunteers or supporters - to attend a football match without being subjected to sexist abuse. While football has made great strides in tackling racism, anti-semitism and homophobia, there is still much work to do in eradicating sexist abuse on match days. This document is specifically focussed on sexist chanting and the abuse many women face at a football match. This briefing note is designed for internal club use only.
The purpose of developing this briefing note is so that it can be used by Clubs to highlight the issue to match day stewards and security staff as well as offering guidance on how to address sexist chanting and abuse.
By working together we hope to make stadia and grounds a safe and welcoming environment for all staff, players and fans.
It is recognised that the points raised in this briefing document may need wider educational input in stewards' training. It is estimated that below should take no more than 10 minutes.
What is sexism?
Sexism is discrimination and prejudice based on a person's sex or gender.
Should abusive behaviour be tolerated?
No. Abusive behaviour specifically aimed at women, or about women, should not be tolerated in a football environment.
What is sexist chanting?
Sexist chanting is the use of language in football chants relating to women, which would be deemed negative, offensive and insulting to anyone (i.e. not just women). Examples of sexist chanting or offensive terms are listed at the end of this briefing note.
Who is at risk from sexist chanting or abuse?
All women and girls attending football matches - as supporters, match officials, volunteers, medical staff, club staff, stewards, women in the media, on-pitch entertainment, or representatives of corporate sponsors.
How is sexist chanting dealt with under the Ground Regulations?
The Ground Regulations, in force at every Premier League and Football League stadium, specifically outlaw the use of threatening behaviour, foul or abusive language and racial, homophobic or discriminatory abuse, chanting or harassment.
Reporting an incident can be done via a number of routes:
– Women in Football at email@example.com
– The FA on 0800 085 0508 or email FootballForAll@TheFA.com
– Kick it Out on 0800 169 9414 or via the Kick it out App or online incident report form
How should Clubs deal with this situation?
Where there are individuals using sexist language or gestures, it is in everyone’s interest that a Club deals with this consistently e.g. as they would do with racism. This sends out a message that sexism is unacceptable and that we want the game to remain safe for everyone. Please refer to The FA’s Good Practice Guide on Crowd Management Measures for Football Clubs.
What is the Club’s policy on unacceptable crowd/individual behaviour, which may cause offence?
It is for each Club to set its own local policy and to outline this as part of the briefing session, bearing in mind resources and police liaison. The briefing should clearly set out how the stewards would be expected to respond to any such incidents.
Common sexist chants, terms of abuse and gestures to look out for. How comfortable would you be if these words were shouted at you?
(nb might not be applicable question if stewards are mostly male?)
Chants referring to sexual abuse or rape are also deeply offensive, such as the “she said yes” chant that has been heard at various grounds.
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