Speaking in Parliament, Bradford East MP, Imran called on the Government to do more to tackle the racism that is faced by players and clubs in local, grassroots football in Bradford and across the country.
Paying tribute to players such as Raheem Sterling and others for speaking out and making it clear that the racist abuse and discrimination in football will not defeat players, clubs or fans, Imran also paid tribute to both the Shadow Minister and Government Minister for rightly condemning in explicit terms the overt racism that is present in top-flight football.
However, Imran went on to state that whilst it was welcome that racism in top-flight football is being condemned and that there was substantial attention paid to rooting out racism at that level, there continues to be hidden and institutionalised obstacles and barriers placed in the way of local, grassroots teams, and he called on the Government to do more to tackle this hidden racism in grassroots level football.
Speaking on racism in football, Imran said:
Any form of racism in any sport is abhorrent and must be called out by players, by fans and by others on the pitch, track or court, and I want to pay tribute to the work and comments of players such as Raheem Sterling and others who have done so much to raise this important issue up the agenda, and who have made it clear that racists will not and cannot force them out of what is for many their dream job.
“Although we rightly pay attention to watch it is happening in the Premier League and in international matches, we sadly focus too little on the racism at the grassroots level faced by local teams who do not have the ability to fight it, especially when it is hidden racism and discrimination at an institutional level, and I am clear that the Government must do much more to tackle this institutionalised racism at the local level.”