IN the largest study ever attempted on the subject, some 60% of football fans say they want racism in the sport tackled by the deduction of points from clubs and countries whose supporters are racist.

In a poll of 27,000 fans from 38 countries, the key finding is that globally, more than half of fans (54%) have witnessed racist abuse while watching a football game, but only 28% would know how to appropriately report such racist incidents.

The study by English football’s Kick It Out anti-racism organisation and the Forza Football app did not give separate figures for Scotland but did say that half of those polled in the UK had witnessed racist abuse at football matches.

What will probably surprise the sports’ authorities is that fans want to see the issue tackled in a way which governing bodies such as Fifa, Uefa and the Scottish Football Association had traditionally shied away from – penalising countries and clubs whose supporters commit racist offences.

The study says that 60% “of fans internationally would support points deductions for national or club teams whose fans are found guilty of racist abuse”. Globally, 74% of fans want Fifa to consider previous racist abuse when awarding countries international tournaments.

In the the three nations co-hosting the 2026 World Cup, 77% of Americans, 76% of Mexicans, and 77% of Canadians are in agreement with the punishment method.

Mentioning the “rising tide” of hate crimes outside of football, Lord Ouseley, chair of Kick It Out, said: “The research is a timely reminder of both the progress that has been made in tackling racism in football, and the challenges that remain.

“There is clear global trend towards an acceptance of the Black Asian and Minority Ethnic community’s central role in football, but further progress is unlikely to be made until governing bodies are bolder in their efforts to eradicate racism from every level.

“The governing bodies, including the FA, Uefa and Fifa, must do more to promote methods of reporting racism and they must listen to supporters’ demands – clubs or countries whose supporters are racially abusive should face harsher sanctions, including points deductions.”