Anti-racism campaigners claim number of reported incidents barely scratches the surface of the problem.

The number of reported incidents of racism since the start of the football season has increased, the Football Association and anti-discrimination group Kick It Out has revealed.

The FA has seen an increase of 70 per cent, while complaints to Kick It Out have gione up by a third.

Racism (117) and anti-Semitic abuse (32) were the most common forms of discrimination reported.
There were also 13 reports of sexism, up from two during the whole of last season. Reports of discrimination based on sexual orientation also increased, from five to 15.

The FA’s head of judicial services Mark Ives told the Guardian that the increase is more a reflection of the number of people reporting incidents rather than an increase in racism per se.

He said: ” It may seem strange to say that it is good to see cases increase from 477 last year at grassroots level to probably 800 this year, but we believe anecdotally the problem itself is not increasing, and that this represents people feeling more confident about reporting abuse.”

But Kick it Out director Roisin Wood said the number of complaints does not reflect the number of incidents.

Writing in the Guardian, she said: “The reality is the level of complaints submitted to us this season, despite showing a leap from 136 to 184 when compared to the midway point of the 2013-14 campaign, barely scratch the surface of a widespread problem.”

Wood said one of the biggest challenges facing them in dealing with complaints is the high volume of hate crime posts on social media, describing it as “a massive task”.

The latest figures are revealed as police continue to study footage of Chelsea fans reported to be involved in racist and abusive behaviour  on a train from London to Manchester after the Capital One Cup final on Sunday night.

Last month, Chelsea fans were filmed on the Paris Metro shouting racist chants and refusing to allow a black man on to a train carriage before the Champions League game against Paris St Germain. The club suspended five supporters in connection with the incident.