Stevenage FC is dedicating this weekend's fixture against Carlisle United to supporting the work of Kick It Out.
For over 20 years, Kick It Out has played a vital role in ensuring that everyone, regardless of background is welcomed into the community of football. Their message of equality is extremely important to us at Boro, and this is why we’re supporting Kick It Out this weekend and encouraging all supporters to download their free app to eradicate all forms of discrimination from the game.
Activities will be taking place with the 92 clubs and throughout the football pyramid over the season as the organisation continues to strive to create and ensure a welcoming and comfortable environment for all. Here at Stevenage players from both sides will be wearing Kick It Out t-shirts during the warm-up along with the match officials and Boro Bear. Fans will be able to show their support by wearing free Kick It Out stickers, available from turnstile operators and programme sellers, and we'll also have special Kick It Out fan clappers available around the ground.
The free Kick It Out app, of which the first version was released in July 2013, allows users to confidentially report incidents they may see, hear or witness at a match. The app was developed by makepositive, a cloud technology firm specialising in Salesforce, and covers over 95% of smartphones. The app gives users the ability to attach video, photo and audio evidence to complaints to aid investigations into discriminatory abuse and behaviour at matches.
The second version of the app has focused on gathering more conclusive evidence for investigations with new functionality allowing media to be attached to reports. A very significant new addition to the app is the option to report incidents of football-related hate crime on social media platforms.
This comes after Kick It Out revealed 50% of complaints it received for the 2013/14 season related to social media abuse, and research commissioned by the organisation in April 2015 also estimated an abusive post was directed at a Premier League player or club once every 2.6 minutes.
The new version of the app also allows complainants to shield their identifying information by clicking the ‘remain anonymous’ button contained within the reporting form. Women’s Super League clubs have also been included in this version.
The first release of the app built upon well-established methods of reporting, including via email and freephone, and was a huge success with 38% of all complaints from the professional game in 2013/14 coming via the app as part of an overall 269% increase in reports made to Kick It Out.
The latest set of statistics from Kick It Out for the 2014/15 season shows 36% of reports registered in relation to the professional game came via the app – making it the most-used mechanism for registering complaints at that level.
Usage of the app has increased by 59% between the 2013/14 season (34 complaints) and the 2014/15 campaign (54 complaints) with the reporting tool becoming one of the most prominent and well-known forms of registering a complaint.
Anna Jӧnsson, Reporting Officer for Kick It Out, said: “We have seen the app become one of the most prominent and popular mechanisms used to report incidents since its release in 2013, and took the decision last year to strengthen its level of functionality.
“With the constant advances we are seeing in technology, it is important we make sure the app reflects these developments as we look to ensure appropriate action is taken against perpetrators in as many cases as we can.”
The free Kick It Out app can be downloaded NOW from Google Play and the App Store.
Saturday's game against Carlisle is a Category B game. Advance tickets range from £3-£16 in the terraces or £8-£22 in the seats and can be purchased at www.borotickets.co.uk.