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Anti-racism group launch app to tackle abuse

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Chelsea's Frank Lampard waits to take a free kick during a Premeirship match against Fulham in London, September 23, 2006. Football anti-racism group Kick It Out launched a new mobile phone tool for fans and players to report racist or homophobic abuse, after a number of high-profile incidents last season. (AFP/File)

Football anti-racism group Kick It Out on Monday launched a new mobile phone tool for fans and players to report racist or homophobic abuse, after a number of high-profile incidents last season.

The mobile phone application will allow fans and players to report abuse directly to Kick It Out, which will follow up the cases with the football authorities and, if necessary, the police.

"Part of the problems that were raised last season were players saying they had complained about an incident and nothing was done about it," said the organisation's chairman Herman Ouseley.

"Some of them never even found out about the outcome of their complaint, especially if it was not found in their favour because we had not been involved.

"Now if players have got a problem they will be able to contact us directly and, if they wish, anonymously, and we will follow through on the complaint.

"Fans will also be able to contact us if for some reason they don't feel the confidence to report something to a steward."

English football has been marred by incidents of racism on and off the pitch over the last two years, with the John Terry and Luis Suarez cases provoking criticism of Kick It Out's response by some players.

Ouseley hopes the new season of action will prompt clubs to take the fight against discrimination more seriously, rather than paying lip service to the battle against racism during the organisation's traditional two-week advertising campaign.

"We felt the old format was stale," he added.

"Clubs need to show they are being much more inclusive and reaching out to fans to show they are embracing everyone, and taking the responsibility for educating everyone - players, supporters and employees.

"If an incident does happen then clubs need to take responsibility and not blame someone else."