Over shadowed

January 2, 2013

 

WEBWATCH

 

Ken Masters

 

YOU WOULD EXPECT AT THIS TIME OF YEAR TO LOOK BACK ON THE FIRST HALF OF ANY FOOTBALL SEASON AND LOOK FORWARD TO THE SECOND HALF WITH DISCUSSION AND OPINIONS ABOUT FOOTBALL, TEAMS, PLAYERS, PERFORMANCES, RESULTS, GIANT KILLINGS, PREDICTIONS AND FORECASTS.

I have just received the latest copy of ‘4theplayer’ dropped through my door. The journal is published by the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) and as with all previous copies we have a welcome note from PFA Chief Executive Gordon Taylor OBE. Gordon has this to say:

“There has been a lot of good football so far this season but this has been overshadowed with the issue of racism rearing its ugly head once again.”

I am not so sure that the ugly head has ever really gone away, but Gordon is right to imply that the issue has once again come to the fore. Gordon goes on; “It’s been quite a toxic atmosphere with problems both a home and abroad and it is an issue that came to a head so we must continue to work hard towards stamping racism out of the game.”

Gordon is not wrong and we should all be supporting him. Over and above we should all be working hard to stamp racism out of society and understand that football is a prime vehicle for doing this.

I have written about this issue before and referred to the stance taken by Jason Roberts earlier in the season. Jason is a player close to our hearts and is greatly respected by all of us at Bristol Rovers. For the record Jason is not a sit on the side serial winger. Jason is a member of the PFA Management Committee and his views are taken very seriously.

The AOL Sport web site reports further on the stance being taken by the PFA: ‘PFA backs FA’s plans to introduce five match bans for racist abuse.’

“Plans for a minimum five match ban for racist abuse have been backed by the Professional Footballers’ Association.”

And on the PFA Twitter page: “The PFA have agreed proposals with the FA that ‘racist abuse’ should carry a minimum five match ban. It is reported that the Foot’ Association have yet to endl the sanction, but it is one of a number of ideas being discussed. AOL goes on to report Gordon Taylor as saying:

“We are not opposed to it {a minimum five match ban}. “We want there to be some consistency and to illustrate the seriousness of our approach to this issue.”

Meanwhile the PFA want all players and managers from overseas to have ‘cultural lessons’ to make them aware of English rules on discrimination under the proposals to tackle racism.

Currently only apprentices. now known as student professionals and aged 16-18, U-18’s or Youth take such courses.

Meanwhile AOL reports UEFA president Michel Plabni is considering an appeal to increase the one-match spectator ban and 80,000 euro fine imposed on Serbia for racist abuse and violence towards England U-21 players. The sanction, imposed by UEFA’s independent control panel, has been

widely criticised for being too lenient, with the fine equating to just under £65,000.

UEFA itself can appeal to increase the severity of the punishment, UEFA sources said. Platini has taken note of the sanction and will make a final decision once he has read the full file on his return from Japan. The European body’s prosecuting inspector had proposed more ‘drastic’ measures, the Serbian federation has admitted.

QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, the targetof racial abuse by John Terry last year, contrasted the sanction against Serbia with the 100.000 euro and one match ban handed to former Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendter for displaying a betting firm’s logo on his underpants during Euro 2012. Ferdinand tweeted: “Wow UEFA ain’t serious with their punishment…So showin a sponsor is worse than racism and fighting!”

His brother Rio added: “ UEFA are not serious at all on racism. Fines do not work at all. They have zero impact on federations/clubs/fans/players #fact. Uefa need to talk to this generation… they don’t seem to be up to date on this issue?? Harsh punishments needed as a deterrent #simple.”

Interesting Tweets!

The Football Association also criticised the sanction and will appeal against two-match and one-match bans foi Steven Caulker and Tom Ince respectively.

FA general secretary Alex Horne said; “We are disappointed with the sanctions levied by UEFA with regards to the racist behaviour displayed towards England’s players. “Let’s be clear, racism is unacceptable in any form, and should play no part in football. The scenes were deplorable and we do not believe the sanction sends a strong enough message.”

So there we have it, sanctions, fines, match bans, comparisons with other offences and so on and so forth. What is clear to me is it is a wider issue than football. Racism is an issue for society and it is incumbent on all to deal with it. Football as an umbrella organisation can and must show a lead.

 

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