FA supports racism report
The Football Association has given its backing to a call for more work to be done in eradicating racism from the game, after a parliamentary inquiry into the subject urged them to "take the lead".
John Whittingdale, MP for Maldon, chaired an inquiry by the House of Commons' Culture, Media and Sport Committee after a string of high-profile racism incidents last season.
Its report found that racism is much less common than in the past but that other "significant problems" still remain, such as homophobic abuse, while social media such as Twitter has become a new platform for abuse.
Whittingdale said: "Recent incidents of racist abuse in the UK, both on and off the pitch, have highlighted the fact that there remain significant problems. We heard evidence that social media has become a tool for the spread of racist and abusive content, but it is also a potential means of combating the ignorance and prejudice that lie behind such behaviour.
"We believe that the football authorities should be using this developing forum for communication and debate to spread positive messages about equality and diversity, and also to speak out strongly against instances of racist abuse when they occur. More needs to be done to increase the diversity of the pool of candidates for coaches and referees, to embed the values of equality and diversity at all levels of the game.
"While the general level of progress in combating racism and racist abuse in the UK is positive and should be applauded, there is much more that can and must be done, and we believe it is for the FA to take the lead and set the example for everyone, from football authorities at all levels to the grassroots groups, to follow."
In response to the report, the FA released a statement, which read: "We welcome the report from the CMS Select Committee into racism in football. We agree with the Committee that whilst substantial progress has been made to promote equality and tackle discrimination in the game, challenges remain for all of the football authorities.
"We remain committed, along with all of our stakeholders, to promoting equality and diversity within the game and to the eradication of all forms of discrimination in football. We will continue to work across the entire breadth of the sport to deliver our inclusion and anti-discrimination agenda. In doing so, we will consider in detail how the Committee's recommendations can support and influence this work."
The committee's report recommends:
- The FA should make it a priority for stewards and club staff to be trained to deal with abuse at club grounds, and to use social media to condemn discrimination.
- Prosecutions in cases of racial abuse at league and club level are "extremely welcome" but similar efforts should be applied to the grassroots game.
- More candidates from ethnic minorities should be trained as coaches and referees.
- Recruitment of managers and directors should be transparent and consistent to encourage greater ethnic diversity.
- The FA should demand stronger leadership from UEFA and FIFA on tackling racism.
However, the committee failed to recommend the 'Rooney Rule' to be adopted - the system used in the NFL where shortlists for the appointment of a new coach have to have at least one candidate of ethnic minority.