English football’s role at the forefront of the fight against racism in sport has been applauded by a number of high-ranking officials.
Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore yesterday declared that English football leads the way while Leeds-based barrister David Casement QC believes a unified front is upholding the integrity of sport.
A parliamentary inquiry into racism in sport has been scheduled for March 6 in response to the Luis Suarez case and allegations of racism against John Terry. Suarez, the Liverpool striker, is serving an eight-match ban for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra while England captain Terry has been charged by the police for allegedly racially abusing QPR’s Anton Ferdinand. Terry denies the charge.
The incidents have placed the subject back under the spotlight but Scudamore insists English football is unrivalled in its appetite to rid the game of racism.
“When it comes to the racism issue there is zero tolerance,” he said. “We as a sport have led the line and continue to lead the line, there’s no room for it.
“I’m absolutely confident that England football’s record in dealing with this issue is good.
“All that’s happened in the last few weeks has been dealt with. Look at the reaction to it from the media, supporters and public.
“The reaction we’ve seen is far better than what happens in many other countries, where it wouldn’t have even got any column inches.”
His sentiments were yesterday echoed by Mr Casement QC, a barrister at Kings Chambers in Leeds. Mr Casement has been reappointed to the Sports Resolutions Panel of Arbitrators: Chairman’s List which will require him to sit and judge on future issues of a similar nature.
He said: “What we are seeing is a determination by sports regulators to stamp out racism in all of its forms. There are many examples of this because it strikes at the very integrity of sport.
“Athletes are role models, they should set a good example. I have no doubt that sports regulators such as the Football Association, the Premier League and FIFA want to eradicate it. It’s not just football, I think we are seeing it right across the board; football, Olympics, all sports. You cannot underestimate the determination of the regulating bodies and that’s why punishments have been meted out.”