By Simon Evans
MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - British Sports Minister Mims Davies will hold an "urgent" meeting with football authorities to discuss recent cases of racist chanting and abuse at matches.
Davies will meet in the coming weeks with representatives of the Football Association (FA), Premier League and English Football League (EFL) to address the issues, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said in a statement on Monday.
Campaign groups such as Stonewall and Kick It Out, will also be invited to discuss what more football can do to stamp out racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic abuse at matches.
"Football is the national game. People of all ages and from all backgrounds should be able to enjoy it. It should bring people together not foster division," said Davies.
"Those involved in abuse are not football fans. They are using football as a cloak for discriminatory, and often criminal, behaviour. And they are not welcome in our stadiums."
The FA are investigating alleged racist chanting by some Millwall supporters during their 3-2 FA Cup victory over Everton last month.
In December, Chelsea suspended four people from their Stamford Bridge stadium pending a police investigation into alleged racial abuse of Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling during City’s 2-0 Premier League defeat.
“Football reaches into every community in this country, and can play a big part in helping to champion the values we want to see as part of society today," added Davies.
“But we will not stand by and watch people threaten these values with ugly acts of hatred.
“Zero tolerance means just that. We cannot allow the minority to ruin it for the majority of us that love the sport," she added.
“Let’s find the mentors and leaders to make change and I will work directly with them and the football authorities to deliver the inclusive, positive game we all want to see.”
(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Toby Davis)