Aston Villa fans top list of hate crime reports during 2019-20 season

By Jamie Gardner, PA Chief Sports Reporter
·2-min read

Aston Villa fans were reported for alleged hate crimes on more occasions than supporters of any other club in the 2019-20 season, according to Home Office data.

Fans of the midlands club were reported on 13 occasions, data obtained by the PA news agency under a Freedom of Information request shows.

They were reported for seven incidents related to race, five related to sexual orientation and one associated to religion.

Three clubs’ fans – Wolves, Leeds and Tottenham – were the subject of 10 reports each, while Chelsea fans were reported nine times.

The Home Office announced two months ago that there had been 319 incidents of hate crime reported at 287 of the 2,663 matches in England and Wales in the 2019-20 season.

The reports came to the UK Football Policing Unit from either the Football Association or anti-discrimination body Kick It Out.

The FOI offers some insight as to when and where the reports were made, although it does not clarify whether clubs reported their own fans on any or every occasion.

All 10 of the reports assigned to Wolves related to race, while eight of those attributed to Leeds were also racist in nature, with two related to sexual orientation.

Six of Spurs’ reports were for racism-related offences, one related to religion and three to sexual orientation.

Chelsea’s nine reports were made up of three for racism, four for religion and two for sexual orientation.

A group of eight clubs were the subject of seven reports each, according to the data. They were Manchester City, Sheffield United, Everton, Millwall, Leicester, Burnley, Portsmouth and Tranmere.

A number of the reports could not definitively be assigned to a club, so do not feature in the club-by-club data.

The FOI request also found that just four reports of hate crime were made related to matches played when the professional game resumed in June and July, even though online incidents were included in the data for the first time.

A plane with a White Lives Matter Burnley banner was flown over the Etihad Stadium before the Manchester City v Burnley Premier League match on June 22
A plane with a White Lives Matter Burnley banner was flown over the Etihad Stadium before the Manchester City v Burnley Premier League match on June 22 (Shaun Botterill/NMC Pool/PA)

One of the four matches where a report was made was the Manchester City v Burnley match on June 22, when the Home Office data shows a Burnley supporter was reported over an incident related to race.

This was the match where a plane was flown over the Etihad Stadium just before kick-off with a banner displaying the words ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’.

The incident happened as players on the pitch were taking the knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.