The two organisations are partnering to gain feedback on the disciplinary process from those who have experienced or witnessed acts of discrimination, assault or physical contact across the grassroots game, and to learn what the perceived barriers to reporting incidents may be, so the process can be improved and to ensure participants are more willing to come forward in future.
Both organisations regularly conduct research across the game with previous participant feedback in this area leading to the composition of hearing panels for serious incidents and centralised reporting channels. However, as current issues continue to evolve, there is acknowledgement that this area needs further improvement, and the findings will be used to better the reporting experience for all.
The research includes a confidential survey, which can be found here. It will take around 15 minutes to complete, with it being crucial to gather full personal experiences so tangible changes can be made to improve the grassroots game for participants and spectators. Key points covered within the survey will include:
• The number of serious incidents directly experienced or witnessed – and how this compares to reporting rates
• Perceived barriers to reporting
• Likelihood to report in the future and how
• Perceptions of and confidence in the reporting process
• Desired improvements to the process
Liverpool County FA Interim CEO, Tony Smith, said: "Conducting research of this nature forms an important part of one of our organisation’s key strategic priorities, which is to deliver a game free from discrimination. We want all incidents of discrimination, assault or physical contact to be reported so they can be dealt with appropriately and effectively. We know there are various barriers to reporting for some people and it’s crucial for us to better understand what they might be. We want participants’ feedback to be at the heart of our decision making so we can make changes which improve the experience for everybody across the grassroots game, and so there is improved confidence in the reporting process in future."
Tajean Hutton, Grassroots Manager at Kick It Out, said: "We receive a number of reports every year concerning discriminatory abuse in grassroots football, so we want to better understand how we can play our part in improving the reporting process at this level of the game. This research will provide crucial insight which we will use to inform our grassroots reporting work alongside The FA and make the right changes, which will ultimately help the people we want to support and hopefully improve their experience in the game for the better."
The research will run into the 2022-23 football season, with both organisations to report on the findings and confirm next steps by the end of the year.