FA told racism must cost clubs points or ‘moral authority’ will be lost
10 February 2010 (The Guardian Online)
The FA’s own Tackling anti-Semitism and Islamophobia taskforce has warned action must be taken immediately
The Football Association must deduct points from clubs whose fans indulge in racist behaviour or risk further erosion of the English game’s “moral authority”, according to a report submitted by its own anti-racism taskforce yesterday. Digger has obtained a copy of the report, prepared by the chair of the FA taskforce on Tackling anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, John Mann MP, and can reveal its wide-ranging recommendations.
“The FA should implement with immediate effect the Fifa rules which allow for the deduction of points where clubs have not taken sufficient action to combat racism and bigotry in their clubs and where such abuse continues,” Mann wrote. “This has been used boldly in France and Hungary – its lack of implementation by the English FA reduces our moral authority at international levels and within the wider Fifa network, including when we demand action on abuse of our own national or club players abroad.”
There are concerns that any such measure will be blocked by the Professional Game Board, a powerful lobby whose representatives sit on the FA’s supreme decision-making main board. So Mann also reprises important arguments raised in the long‑discarded Burns report, calling for a more “diverse representation [of] the football community” in the FA’s internal structures, which “is of vital importance at this level for credibility but also for effectiveness”.
At the time that the FA set up the taskforce in September 2008, its then director of corporate affairs Simon Johnson said: “We’re serious about tackling racism in football.” Now, after the FA’s approach to minority communities was called into question this week by its hamfisted handling of an anti-homophobia campaign, its treatment of the taskforce’s recommendations will be scrutinised.
Read this piece online here.