(Reuters) - The number of soccer matches in England and Wales where hate crime incidents were reported increased by 47% in the 2018-19 season, a British government study published on Thursday said.
Although football-related arrests dropped by 10% to 1,381 last season, the number of hate crimes reported increased from incidents in 131 matches the previous season to 193 matches in 2018-19.
The study said 79% of those incidents were race related and 14 arrests were made for racist and indecent chanting last season, which was twice the number of arrests in the 2016-17 season.
“In the 2018-19 season, the number of matches where hate crime was reported increased by 47%, from 131 matches to 193 matches,” the Home Office study said.
“Some of the increase is likely due to improvements in recording. Of the 193 matches, 79% of the hate crime incidents related to race.”
The most common arrest type was for public disorder, with 524 arrests made last season, followed by 260 for violent disorder and 158 arrests for pitch incursions.
Championship side Stoke City had the highest number of supporters arrested (80) followed by Leeds United (49) and Aston Villa (42).
“The latest Home Office statistics do not make for pleasant reading but to provide some context 62 of the 80 arrests were as a result of anti-social behaviour that occurred both during and after the Checkatrade Trophy fixture against Port Vale in December 2018,” a Stoke City representative told Reuters.
“Of the other 18 arrests, only five of those were made at home fixtures at the bet365 Stadium.
“Working in partnership with the police and authorities, we are continuing to do everything we can to try and eradicate anti-social behaviour from football.”
There were also 1,771 football banning orders in force -- down from 1,822 last season -- but the number of new banning orders increased by 19%. Newcastle United have the most number of banning orders with 71 in force.
Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis
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