Liverpool news

Liverpool campaign backed

July 30, 2013
By Mike Whalley

Liverpool have won support from anti-discrimination campaigners in their bid to eradicate abuse in the stands at Anfield.

Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra
GettyImagesOn-field issues of abuse have controversially featured for Liverpool in recent years.

The club have issued staff with a guide listing offensive terms the club want to stamp out. They include racist, sexist and homophobic words and phrases, as well as slurs against religion and disability.

Lord Herman Ouseley, chair of the UK anti-discrimination campaigning body Kick It Out, welcomed the guide.

He said: "Kick It Out acknowledges the great strides that Liverpool FC has taken over recent times to reiterate their continued commitment to equality.

"The guide forms part of an overall awareness programme, and is a positive and proactive step in educating staff and stewards at the club."

The guide, though, has received a mixed response from the UK media and public because some of the terms included - such as "man up" and "play like a girl" - are perceived to be less offensive than others.

Liverpool season-ticket holder Joe Walsh said: "Anything that tackles abuse has got to be a good thing, although it’s a bit weird that the club feel the need to bring out a handbook to tell people what’s offensive."

Fellow supporter Lauren Chapman added: "I think the guide’s a good idea. You shouldn’t have to put up with racist or sexist abuse at football these days."

But Ged Hall, a Liverpool fan for more than 30 years, said: "Some of the stuff in there is plain daft. What’s wrong with saying someone ‘plays like a girl’? There’s nothing meant by it - it’s harmless."

Liverpool attracted criticism for the way in which they handled the fall-out of Luis Suarez’s racism case in 2011.

Suarez was banned for eight matches after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra during a Premier League match.

Liverpool decided not to appeal against the suspension but initially continued to challenge the findings of the independent commission that imposed the ban, although Suarez subsequently issued an apology.

The club, though, are committed to tackling discrimination and raising social awareness.

Rishi Jain, who helped compile the guide as Liverpool’s social inclusion officer, said: “As part of the club's continued commitment to tackle all forms of discrimination, as well as promoting its approach to equality and diversity, Liverpool FC has been actively engaged in a full club-wide education and awareness programme.

"This programme includes interactive workshops and a handbook which is designed to provide information on the latest equality legislation including information relating to what terminology is deemed as both acceptable and unacceptable.

"This programme of awareness enables our employees to recognise inappropriate language and take the necessary steps to ensure Anfield is free from all forms of discrimination."

The guide has not been issued to Liverpool’s players. They - as with players at all Premier and Football League clubs - receive their own guidance from the Football Association.