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Jason Roberts: FA ‘lack leadership” on racism

CRITICAL: Jason Roberts (PA)

FOOTBALLER JASON Roberts has joined the chorus of dissent at the Football Association’s vote to enact a minimum five-game ban for players found guilty of racism.

European governing body Uefa recommended a 10-match for first time offenders, but the FA said it would only countenance such a lengthy ban for repeat offenders.

“The last 18 months regarding equality at the FA has seen bad decisions, lack of will, lack of consultation and lack of leadership”, Roberts said.

Also, the 35-year-old Reading forward tweeted: “While Uefa propose a 10-match ban for racism, the FA decides on five! Who do they consult on these decisions? Certainly not the players.

“Poor decisions on high profile cases, a weak 92-point plan and now five game bans confirms it is left to the players concerned to effect change”, he added.

Roberts was seen as a catalyst against racism in the game. In November 2012, he took a stand by refusing to pull on a pre-match anti-racism T-shirt for Kick It Out (KIO), because of perceived failures to address racism.


UGLY SCENE: The FA handed John Terry a four-match ban for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand

The striker, one of the most outspoken players on racism, is not the only one smarting from the FA’s decision, which was taken yesterday during their annual general meeting at Wembley.

Lord Herman Ouseley, head of KIO, said: “We will look stupid if Uefa go with 10 and we go with five [match ban].

“It will not add any credibility to the FA's stance that it has zero tolerance on this matter. It’s very important they build credibility and send out a very confident message that will make people feel they can complain and something will be done”, added Ouseley, who recently stepped down last year from his FA advisory role.

Human rights barrister and anti-racism activist Peter Herbert also expressed his dismay at the FA’s decision.

The lawyer said: “The FA Board despite its supposed commitment to combating racism has shown it has learnt nothing over the last two years and has once again failed even to meet the standards proposed by Uefa.”

Recently, the outgoing FA chairman, David Bernstein, said: “We don't have to follow Uefa. Ours is a very detailed and thought-out proposal.

“It is not likely to be exactly in line with Uefa's. Ours will have a minimum but it will have a clear acceleration from that minimum. We may well yet go beyond the 10 [game ban for racism].”


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