NIF’s Kick It Out initiative reported a worrying rise in violence by soccer fans for the first half of the 2021/22 seasons. The Kick It Out campaign works to eliminate racism and violence in soccer.
Kick It Out’s most recent report tracked 43 instances of fans rioting and nine incidents of vandalism—nearly double that of previous seasons pre-COVID, when fans were allowed to attend matches. Yet the Israel Police only opened 28 cases against soccer fans accused of racism and violence in 2021, compared with 37 in 2019 and 53 in 2018.
In the 20 years since Kick It Out Israel was founded by NIF, once-unchallenged racist chanting by soccer fans, including mocking of Arab and Black players, has now been outlawed and is vastly reduced. Yet recently, violent fans have become more active. They have attacked players, officials, and opposing fans, and vandalized stadium property.
Kick It Out Israel coordinator Gal Karpel said, “Violent and racist incidents in stadiums are on the rise and this is very worrying. The police and the courts must take a tougher stand against the violent fans so that all of us, including families and children, can enjoy soccer.”