Anti-racism body slams ‘weak’ FA, Premier League
LONDON - Agence France-Presse
John Terry (L) was given a ban for racially abusing QPR’s Anton Ferdinand (R). EPA photoThe chairman of an anti-racism group has accused England’s Football Association and the top-flight Premier League of lacking morality and leadership over their handling of recent racism cases.
Herman Ouseley, who heads the Kick It Out organization, also rebuked Chelsea and Liverpool over the racism incidents involving their players John Terry and Luis Suarez, saying they failed to take a stand against unacceptable behavior.
“There is very little morality in football among the top clubs,” Ouseley, a lawmaker in Britain’s upper chamber of parliament, said in an interview with The Guardian newspaper published yesterday.
“Leadership is so important; you have to send a powerful message that racism is completely unacceptable. But there is a moral vacuum. 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.”
Terry served a four-game ban earlier this season after being found guilty of racially abusing Queens Park Rangers’ Anton Ferdinand by the FA, while Suarez was hit with an eight-match ban for a similar offense last season.
Despite the punishments dealt out to the two players, Ouseley said the football authorities should have been more outspoken in their criticism.
“The condemnations have been mealy-mouthed,” the former head of the Commission for Racial Equality said.
“We want all players and fans to feel confident about reporting abuse. But 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.”
English football has been hit by a spate of incidents of racial abuse this year, with a succession of players allegedly targeted by fans both at grounds and on Twitter.