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Rabbatts wants action on racism
FA independent director Heather Rabbatts insists the game must respond to damning criticism of the handling of recent racial abuse cases.
Kick It Out chairman Lord Herman Ouseley has claimed there is "very little morality" at the top clubs, and a lack of leadership and "a moral vacuum" in the game. Rabbatts, appointed as an independent board member earlier this year and a potential candidate to be the next Football Association chairman, said Ouseley had raised important issues. Ouseley has said he will step down from the FA council and may even resign as chairman of Kick It Out, the anti-discrimination group. Rabbatts said:
"The issues that Herman Ouseley is raising are hugely important issues for the whole game and it has to respond to these challenges.
"There are a number of members from different parts of the game being consulted and we all have to rise to the current challenge.
"Despite the huge progress that has been made in tackling discrimination there is a need for renewed energy."
It has not been confirmed if Ouseley has formally resigned from his FA positions, and Rabbatts said there would be "real sadness" if he has done so. She added:
"I understand where he's coming from and it would be a real sadness to lose Herman from his FA positions."
Ouseley said Chelsea and Liverpool protected their players John Terry and Luis Suarez in recent cases because they were "assets". He said:
"The big clubs look after their players as assets. There was no bold attitude from them, to say that they would not put up with it."
Ouseley believes football's authorities should have made strong statements of disapproval after Suarez and Terry were found guilty, but added:
"The condemnations have been mealy-mouthed.
"The FA did not say anything about the lies and distortions which came out in John Terry's and Ashley Cole's evidence. Instead the players are protected.
"The Premier League could have set the tone; they and the FA do a good job in community work. But on this, I have not heard anything from the Premier League.
"The FA should have asserted themselves, said they would not up with people disrespecting the process, but the FA were very slack and weak."
Meanwhile, players and managers coming to England from overseas will have "cultural lessons" to make them aware of rules on discrimination under proposals to tackle racism. Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor said that the proposals included all players and managers having lessons on cultural awareness, including those newly arrived from abroad - Suarez admitted calling Patrice Evra 'negrito' but claimed that was acceptable in his native Uruguay. Taylor said:
"Up until now, we have had cultural awareness courses for our apprentices and the plan now is to extend these to senior players and coaches, including those coming from overseas. "We want to make sure there is no misunderstanding with regards to the rules and regulations on discrimination."
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