“A lot of people seem to be uneducated about it” Nathan Pond talks about racism

Nathan Pond has made over 500 football league appearances starting in 2003 for Lancaster City

In the last five years the number of racist incidents reported across football from the Premier League to grassroots level has been on rise.

Grassroots level has seen it hit a record high this season alone, with Kick It Out saying reports of discrimination in both professional and grassroots football rose significantly in the 2018/19 season – up by 32 per cent.

Nathan Pond, Salford City defender, thinks racism is still a problem within football.

He said: “A lot of people seem to be uneducated about it. A lot of people are saying something and not really knowing the meaning behind what they have said.”

Racism has always been a problem within football going back to the 1970s and the type of abuse then was much worse.

The reason the number of racist incidents is on the rise could be down to people feeling more confident about reporting them and people becoming more educated about the topic.

Pond made more than 400 appearances for Fleetwood.

He said: “I was racially abused twice whilst I was playing, the first was from a player and the other time was from a supporter.

“At the time of the incident happening I was angry. I didn’t report it at the time when I should have done.”

Earlier this season in April, non-league side Padiham FC were fined £165 after walking of the pitch in protest of racial abuse towards then goalkeeper Tony Aghayere in a game against Congleton.

Congleton were found guilty of the incident and were fined £160, which was £5 less than the team that were the victims.

In a statement Kick It Out said: “Football is sending out the wrong signal when bigger fines are given to the victims of abuse rather than the alleged perpetrators.”

Football’s governing bodies are being put under huge amounts of pressure to do more to combat racism within the game.

Pond added: “It is hard for a football club and the FA to control a certain group of fans where a stadium holds 50,000 supporters.

“If a single person makes a stupid comment, then for a whole club to be punished because of one individual is quite hard.

“I do think harsher bans should be in place and points should start to be docked off clubs that have been found guilty of racism.”