Surrey FA :10-point plan to tackle football racism “sensitive matter”

Surrey FA has been unable to comment on the 10-point plan to tackle football racism put forward by the Society of Black Lawyers (SBL).

Describing the matter as “sensitive”, the club was keen to promote their Respect Weekend campaign taking place later this month, which aims to stamp out aggressive behaviour in football.

Alex Prior of Surrey FA said: “With sensitive matters like this, we have to wait on a statement to come down from the FA before we can comment on the specifics.

“The Surrey County FA is against all forms of racism and will not tolerate any racist or abusive behaviour.”

The 10-point plan suggested by the Society of Black Lawyers last Wednesday wants football matches abandoned if fans engage in racial abuse.  The points drawn up include:

     –     a minimum six to nine-month ban for racial abuse, rising to a five-year ban for a third offence

     –     any fines going directly to Kick It Out to fund grassroots anti-racism initiatives

     –     the creation of representative associations for black players, managers and coaches

     –     guidance for referees to send off players using racist abuse and the power to call off games where the crowd is using such abuse

     –     racial abuse to be a matter of gross misconduct incorporated into players’ contracts

     –     clubs to invest in the personal education of all players, including university or college education

     –     recording referees and assistants during matches to pick up any possible abuse by players

     –     a system for reporting racial incidents to be set up with details of such incidents, both on and off the pitch, published each year Racism in the premier league has been the subject of much recent publicity but many believe that racism is actually more of a problem in lower leagues and at the grassroots level.

Earlier this month, Manchester City Captain Vincet Kompany told BBC World Football: “Racism is felt the most definitely in grassroots football.”

Alan White, Club manager of United Glasgow FC, echoed similar thoughts when he said: “All the real problems with racism come at grassroots level. It comes in places where there is no spotlight on it.”

A report published by the Media, Sports and Culture Committee in September, urged football authorities at all levels of the game to take“responsibility for pro-actively tackling all forms of discrimination, including racism.” The committee also said the FA “must take the lead and set a strong example for others to follow.”

The FA had no direct response to the SBL’s 10-point plan but said: “The FA has a zero tolerance policy on racism and has demonstrated it will bring charges where cases are proven. “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.

“The FA is continuing to work collectively across football to develop a robust final inclusion and anti-discrimination action plan in response to Government.

“This will take into account a range of feedback, including the views aired so passionately this past month. Prejudice and discrimination has no place in football, and society as a whole.”

But chairman of the SBL, Peter Herbert- OBE, called the FA’s response “woefully inadequate” and a “failure to address racism.” He said:“The FA statement is a woefully inadequate statement given their failure to address racism by a comprehensive hate crime strategy, a target to address the achievement of black managers, and an educational programme for all players, black and white.

“The 10 point plan is a basis for discussion and action to implement the Lawrence Inquiry recommendations for the football industry.

“SBL is adopting a zero tolerance against racism in football. We will be discussing racism formally with the Met Police and the Sports Minister in due course.”

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