FA chief ready to tackle discrimination

20 December 2012 09:16

Football Association chairman David Bernstein has announced a plan to get tough on racism and all other forms of discrimination in a bid to restore the sport's battered reputation.

After spending much of the last 12 months dealing with the fall-out from a series of ugly disputes involving racism, the FA have finally decided to act.

The English game's governing body on Thursday revealed that clubs will face sanctions for failing to deal with racism and discrimination by players, coaches or their fans.

The FA are also determined to strive for at least 10 percent of referees and level one coaches coming from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Players and coaches arriving from abroad will have to undergo mandatory induction lessons to ensure they are aware of the "British cultural environment".

The plan, which will now be submitted to the Government, follows a Downing Street summit called in February after the Luis Suarez and John Terry racial abuse cases.

"This is a very important day. Ensuring the game is inclusive and combats discrimination has been - and remains - at the top of my agenda," Bernstein said.

"There remain challenges ahead in this area and all of football would agree we need to find more ways of developing more black and ethnic minority coaches and creating pathways for them.

"Equally, no football player should fear coming out as gay at the risk of suffering discrimination and we continue to strengthen our support programmes to ensure the game is open to all regardless of their sexuality.

"The over-riding message remains that there is simply no place for any form of discrimination in football."

The action plan has been agreed by the FA, Premier League, Football League, Professional Footballers' Association (PFA), the League Managers' Association (LMA) and referees' bodies.

Both the PFA and LMA say they would be in favour of players and managers having it made clear in their contracts they would face action for racist language.

The plan states the organisations would support "standard clauses that address discriminatory language and behaviour, in managers and coaches' contracts."

In relation to possible action against clubs, the plan states the FA would work "with the Premier League and Football League to sanction clubs who repeatedly fail to sanction their employees, who breach their contract or code of conduct, or deal inadequately with fans in relation to discriminatory language or behaviour."

Source: AFP