'Better than shopping' - One in five female fans face sexism at games

The Barclay End celebrates City's goal

The Barclay End celebrates City's goal - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

One in five female Norwich City fans say they have experienced some form of sexism while attending games, a survey has shown.

The Canaries Trust, one of City's leading supporters' groups, surveyed a number of supporters about their experiences following the team home and away.

And while it showed the level of sexism had dramatically reduced over the years, some female football fans still felt uneasy watching their team play and one-fifth had personal experience of sexism.

Many of the participants described feeling that "sexist banter" was part and parcel of the game, and that the type of language they experienced would be called out in any other setting.

Among the derogatory statements reported by the participants were comments such as "see, this is better than shopping", and suggestions that women were not proper supporters or did not understand the game.

Sarah Greaves, women's football ambassador at the Canaries Trust, said: "Since attending games at Carrow Road as a young girl in the 1980s, Carrow Road is definitely a much improved female and family friendly environment.

"However, it is clear sexism still exists and any banter which causes offence should not be tolerated.

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"All fans should love their club and we should all be able to travel to and watch games without fear of abuse, let alone assault.

"Reading the comments was a sobering experience and one that allows us to move forward with the club to ensure every fan is welcome and safe at Carrow Road."

Robin Sainty, chairman of the Trust, said: "Football is all about different opinions; banter is very much a part of that and certainly isn't something that we wish to see disappear. But using somebody's skin colour or gender to belittle them goes far beyond banter and should be roundly condemned."

With hopes fans will be returning to the terraces in the new season, the group and Norwich City Football Club will be working together on ways of addressing the concerns.

These include the club offering measures geared at improving the experiences of female supporters, including a hotline to report incidents of a discrimination and a dedicated "safe area" of the ground should anybody need to access it.