SUPPORT: MP and Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna
STREATHAM MP Chuka Umunna has backed The Voice’s Enough is Enough- Get Onside campaign, saying that football has got a long way to go before racism is stamped out.
Umunna, a rising star within the Labour ranks, told The Voice he has serious concerns following a range of incidents over the last year.
The shadow business secretary, whose late father was Nigerian, said: “We (black people) nevertheless have gone on to overcome obstacles to achieve great things in a variety of fields and obviously there are certain areas where black people are very visible for example in the field of sport and music.”
He added: “Despite big progress, we still have a long way to go in terms of ensuring there is proper representation for black people in public life.”
Among the more recent incidents of racism are claims England footballer Danny Rose was racially abused by fans in Krusevac, Serbia during a 2013 European Under-21 Championship play-off in October 17.
Rose, 22, said he was subjected to monkey chants throughout the game, starting in the warm-up.
Former England captain John Terry was also accused of using racist language in a verbal exchange with Anton Ferdinand last year October.
The Football Association (FA) found Terry, who was cleared by a court, guilty on September 27. He was given a highly criticised four-match ban and fined £220,000.
Umunna said: “My concern about the judgement in the case involving John Terry was that somehow a message would be given that the use of racist terms that maybe in a sarcastic manner is somehow acceptable and it is important that a very strong message is sent out that racism in football will not be tolerated under any circumstance whatever.”
David Mbaziira, from diversity in sport charity, Sporting Equals, is also supporting the Voice's campaign.
He said: "I think that everyone was rightly appalled by the action of the Serbians in that qualifier. It was bad for the FA to later try and redirect and shift the focus on Danny Rose.
"Football has a role to play in kicking out racism and it is time the FA realised things are no longer acceptable… This is a matter for UEFA. It is time to review sanctions. They should meet their words with actions.
"We need to combine sanctions with informing and educating players. Sanction alone will not work. I am very supportive of any organisation trying to highlight this issue."