Labour MP John Mann has been invited by the Prime Minister to represent the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism to attend today’s summit on Racism in Football. This follows John Mann’s establishing and chairing a working group with the FA on Tackling Antisemitism and Islamophobia in Football and his recent submission to the DCMS Select Committee special inquiry into football and racism which highlight his concerns and future recommendations. At today’s meeting he will be saying:
- The FA has a good track record of combating racism in football, but like many bureaucratic bodies it is slow and over-cautious.
- Systemic issues need addressing including the defective system of handling discrimination cases whereby the FA act as police, judge and executioner and the inability to enforce change at club level leading to cycles of abdication of responsibility.
- There is a continuing gap in information, referees have no incentive to report incidents or turn up to hearings and rarely discover the outcome of hearings and simplification is required
- Arrangements for periodic, strategic review of FA reporting systems should be introduced
- A number of good processes are in place to prepare for international tournaments, relevant anti-racism organisations and experts could however be better consulted and incorporated into forward-planning.
- The FA should take a greater lead in FIFA and UEFA not just sharing best practice but demonstrating real leadership on issues of racism and antisemitism.
- The FA should consider how they can work with clubs strategically and communicate websites like True Vision to supporters.
- Creative thinking should be encouraged from all football authorities on demonstrating positive leadership, helping to reducing community tension and isolate its instigators.
- Examples of football legislation should be examined for best practice
- More needs to be done to discipline those who are racially abusive in the grassroots game
John Mann said “I welcome the Prime Minister’s summit on racism in football. By dealing with this issue at the highest level gives out the message that racist actions and behaviour both on and off the pitch are intolerable and informs wider society of the standards we should be setting ourselves. It is important that the best practices we have already uncovered are not overlooked. I look forward to its recommendations and hope that it will provide the necessary stimulus for change”.
Mann Reports Back From PM’s Football Summit
John Mann MP was one of 30 people invited to the Prime Ministers Football Summit in 10 Downing Street. Along with managers and players, the meeting brought in the top figures from the Football Association, including Sir Trevor Brooking along with former stars such as John Barnes and Graham Le Saux. The country’s top referee, Howard Webb from Sheffield also participated.
John was one of five people asked to lead off the discussion by the Prime Minister and he challenged the FA and football authorities to provide consistency in handling racism and discrimination. John also won a commitment from the Prime Minister to back England players if they take action to counter racist abuse whilst on England duty.
Others attending included former players such as Paul Elliott and Gareth Crooks who have worked with John when he chaired an FA task force recently.
Mann commented “it is necessary for our national game to be in the forefront of tackling racism and discrimination and I noted how strong the resolve of the many black players present was to no longer tolerate any discrimination. Football must be a sport where everyone can play without hassle and where supporters feel safe and confident in cheering their team on whether in a local park or at Wembley”.