Football must not be complacent in challenging racism - September 19th 2012
In a report published today, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee says that football authorities at all levels of the game, supporters’ and players’ groups need to take responsibility for pro-actively tackling all forms of discrimination, including racism, but it is the Football Association that must take the lead and set a strong example for others to follow.
The BBC and several other media outlets have mentioned Show Racism the Red Card’s activities to educate about racism.
The Committee recommends that:
• It should be a priority for the FA to develop procedures for stewards to follow and regular training opportunities to ensure that all relevant staff at club grounds are capable of reacting swiftly and consistently to incidents of abuse.
• The efforts being made at league and club level to ensure successful prosecutions in cases of racial abuse are extremely welcome; however, it is important that similar efforts are applied to the grassroots game.
• All appointments should be based on merit alone irrespective of the candidates’ race. The Committee says the best and most equitable way to introduce greater diversity among football managers and on boards is to encourage transparency and consistency of recruitment processes across all clubs and football authorities
• Candidates from ethnic minorities to train as coaches and referees, to ensure that clubs and boards can select from a more diverse pool of recruits.
John Whittingdale MP, Chair of the Committee, said: “Much has been done to improve the atmosphere and behaviour at football matches and it has become a much more family friendly activity. However, 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.”
Show Racism the Red Card made a written submission to the Committee highlighting that in order to be successful, strategies to combat racism within sport need to encompass a holistic approach to the issue. This needs to include:
• With action plans developed to overcome areas of imbalance and inequality.
• Training Wider programmes of anti-racism education in society, to address underlying prejudice rather than just preventing the expression of this prejudice within the sporting arena.
• for all employees from members of the board to players y.
• Clear, consistent, transparent procedures for dealing with players and fans who commit racially motivated offences.
• Clear, unambiguous messages from sporting clubs as to the expected behaviour of employees and spectators.
• Clear, unambiguous messages from government about the importance of promoting race-equality and tackling racism.
• Sporting clubs must clearly show that they reject the ideologies of far-right street movements, such as the EDL which try to use sport as a vehicle around which to organise and recruit.
• Wider programmes of anti-racism education in society, to address underlying prejudice rather than just preventing the expression of this prejudice within the sporting arena.