Ferdinand brothers released a joint statement expressing their disappointment with FA and PFA’s lack of action, while Gordon Taylor comes up with a ‘six-point action plan’ to stamp out racism.
Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand and his brother Anton have released a statement regarding the Kick-It-Out campaign and the role of the governing bodies in English football over racism. The statement comes after Anton and Rio Ferdinand, along with other footballers across the league, refused wear the Kick It Out campaign t-shirt during the last round of Premier league matches. It was apparent that most of the players have lost their faith in the campaign.
The Ferdinand brothers expressed their disappointment over the John Terry saga and said that the Kick-It-Out campaign needs to evolve if it is to eradicate racism from football. Both the defenders were earlier linked with a breakaway union for black players. But they have confirmed their commitment towards improving the game along with PFA and FA despite being disappointed with their actions, or lack of it, over the past year.
“It has been a year since the incident at Loftus Road. During that time, some of the deep divisions that exist in football have been exposed.
“In the coming months there will be ongoing discussions, we are sure, on finding a way forward. We intend to participate in these discussions, along with numerous other current and ex-professionals of all races, from the grassroots upwards, across the football community as a whole.
“On the issue of Kick It Out, we would like to go on record to say what fantastic work they have done in the past regarding education and awareness. However, times change and organisations need to change with them. We are more than happy to join the discussion, privately, to make Kick it Out more relevant in its fight to stamp out racism in football.
“Although we have been left disappointed by the PFA and the FA’s actions over the last year, as a family, we are committed to working with football’s existing organisations towards the betterment of the game and to achieve immediate action.
“We would like to thank all the fans and the staff at Queens Park Rangers and Manchester United for their support in what has been a difficult year. In particular we want to thank [the managers] Sir Alex Ferguson and Mark Hughes.
“We will not be discussing publicly any issues connected with the case. We are now going to concentrate on playing football.” – Read the statement.
Meanwhile PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor has come out with a ‘six-point action plan’ after rumours of a breakaway players union was reported in media. The rules were set up after an exclusive meeting with the black players headed by Jason Roberts.
The six point action plan includes steps to fasten up the process of issuing verdicts for any reported racism and close monitoring of incidents. Players and managers can now be fired as racism will be treated as a “sackable offense”. But the big amendment will be the inclusion of the “Rooney Rule” in English football. The rule that is widely used in NFL and was named after Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, is largely about inclusion of black coaches in interviews for the post of manager and coaching roles. PFA will henceforth monitor the proportion of black coaches in the league. Here is the six point rule proposed by Gordon Taylor.
- Speeding up the process of dealing with reported racist abuse with close monitoring of any incidents.
- Consideration of stiffer penalties for racist abuse and to include an equality awareness programme for culprits and clubs involved.
- An English form of the ‘Rooney rule’ – introduced by the NFL in America in 2003 – to make sure qualified black coaches are on interview lists for job vacancies.
- The proportion of black coaches and managers to be monitored and any inequality or progress highlighted.
- Racial abuse to be considered gross misconduct in player and coach contracts (and therefore potentially a sackable offence).
- To not lose sight of other equality issues such as gender, sexual orientation, disability, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and Asians in football.
Jason Roberts has also voiced his concerns over the lack of fund for the Kick It Out campaign. The Reading striker who is believed to be one the leading voices behind the above rules being proposed, has demanded increased ‘representation’ of black players in administrative roles with the league and clubs.
“The last generation suffered from monkey chants and we have to move it forward from simply being happy that we no longer get that. I’m not just happy to be here where we are. We should have the same opportunities as other people to get into management and coaching.
“We should have a serious approach to representation. Kick It Out should be seriously funded. We should have a serious, properly funded and staffed equality department with strong leadership within the PFA.” – Roberts said.
It has been reported that the Kick-It-Out campaign will now receive increased funding from the FA. The fight against racism has picked up pace over the last month. Voices have seldom being so united in this cause.