One in five women experience ‘unwanted physical attention’ at football matches, survey finds

St James's Park. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)St James's Park. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)
St James's Park. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)
The survey was compiled by the Football Supporters Association and builds on the same survey that was taken in 2014

A study carried out by the Football Supporters Association has revealed that one in five women (20%) surveyed said they experienced unwanted physical contact at a men’s football match.

This is more than double the number of the last time the survey was carried out in 2014 when the number was 8%.

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The FSA’s Women at the Match survey collated the experiences of more than 2,000 match-going football fans.

First undertaken in 2014 it was revisited this year, with data collected on both the men’s and women’s games separately for the first time.

2,164 fans filled in the survey, which ran online between 13 August and 7 September 2021.

The survey also revealed that Women are less willing to accept sexist behaviour at games compared to the 2014 findings.

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Almost half of the respondents (49%) said that witnessing sexist behaviour made them angry, up from one in three (29%) previously.

Back in 2014 almost one in three (32%) said they were generally not bothered about witnessing something sexist at the match, whereas nowadays only one in every seven fans (15%) would have the same attitude.

Fewer women again are willing to accept it as part of the matchday experience, 4% down from 10% when compared to 2014’s figures, and most (59%) would like to see clubs condemn individuals who exhibit such behaviour.

Four in ten (39%) would like to see sexists ejected from the ground – up from 26% in 2014.

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One in 20 supporters (5%) say that witnessing sexist behaviour at the match makes them not want to attend in future.

Malcolm was a key figure in the club’s history (Image: Getty Images)Malcolm was a key figure in the club’s history (Image: Getty Images)
Malcolm was a key figure in the club’s history (Image: Getty Images) | Getty Images

Ally Simcock, FSA board member, said: “It is heartening to see the change in attitudes over recent years, with fans less likely to be accepting of sexist behaviour, or willing to just brush it off or excuse it as banter.

“I’ve been going to men’s football for a long time now and have heard my share of sexist comments, but a lot has changed recently.

“Things like the #MeToo movement have helped change people’s perceptions about what they’re willing to put up with, and what is or isn’t acceptable.

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“The FSA is absolutely clear on this – there is no place whatsoever at football for sexist or misogynistic behaviour.

“We’d encourage all supporters to challenge it, and if necessary, report it to their club or the authorities.”

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