Supporters of Manchester United have topped the table of football-related arrests that involve racism between 2014 and 2018, data shows.
Released after a freedom of information request, data shows that 27 people who were recorded as fans of the Old Trafford club were arrested during the seasons 2014/15 until 2017/18.
Championship sides Leeds United and Millwall FC came second, with 15 supporters each, whilst Leicester had 14 and Chelsea, 13.
The data shows 107 arrests during the 2014/15 season, which rose to 114 the following season. That figure then dropped over the next two seasons to 94 in 2016/17, then 75 in 2017/18.
Other clubs that had arrest numbers in double figures were West Ham with 11 and Barnsley, Manchester City and Middlesbrough all on 10.
A Millwall spokesperson told Sky News: “Millwall Football Club has a long and proud history of tackling all forms of discrimination inside its stadium and within its local community.
“The club’s strategy is that anyone found guilty of discrimination of any sort at The Den is not just issued with an immediate ban, but also offered the opportunity to attend Millwall For All’s ‘Fan Diversity Scheme’, which aims to educate rather than simply just exclude. Education is key when it comes to dealing with people with unpalatable views and football clubs should be at the forefront of efforts to do so.”
Manchester United is yet to respond to Sky News’ request for comment, while in a statement Leeds United said: “Racism will not be tolerated by our club or by the vast majority of our community and fan base.
“We have worked closely with West Yorkshire Police and the British Transport Police in recent years, in an effort to reduce the number of arrests involving our supporters at our games in general.
It went on: “We believe that we have made great steps towards making improvements – however clearly this is a work in progress and we are committed with the help of The FA, EFL, Kick It Out and Police to do anything we can to eradicate this vile issue from the game.”
In November last year, Kick It Out, the anti-discrimination organisation, said it received 520 reports of abuse during the 2017/18 season, an 11% increase on the year before, and the sixth year in a row that the figure had risen. It said 53% of those reports concerned alleged racist abuse.
The organisation responded to the report, saying: “These figures show racism is a nationwide problem shared by clubs of all different sizes in all parts of the country.
“We support them in challenging racism and other forms of discrimination, and will continue our programme of education in the game to help reduce this problem.”
Where racism has been recorded as part of the arrest, the arresting officer has to tick a box, which the Home Office says means the data accuracy cannot be guaranteed.
Over the last season, England and Man City star Raheem Sterling alleged he was racially abused during a match between his club and Chelsea, but the Crown Prosecution Service said there was not enough evidence to prosecute anyone.
England’s black players also suffered racist abuse during a game in Montenegro in March, whilst a Tottenham supporter was handed a four-year ban and a £500 fine for throwing a banana skin at Arsenal player Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in December.