No significant consequences for racism – PFA chair

22 January 2024 0 By Total Football News

Kasey Palmer and Mike MaignanKasey Palmer (left) and Mike Maignan were both allegedly racially abused during games on Saturday

Players do not think the football authorities are doing enough to effectively tackle racism in the game, says Professional Footballers’ Association chair Omar Beckles.

Beckles says members do not believe there are “real, consistent and significant consequences” for racism.

AC Milan’s Mike Maignan and Coventry’s Kasey Palmer both suffered alleged racist abuse during games on Saturday.

“Responsibility for what happens next lies with the authorities,” he said.

“Our members want to see real, consistent and significant consequences for racist abuse, both for the individuals who are responsible and for clubs who fail to get a grip of the issue within their stadiums.

“The reality is that players don’t believe this is happening.”

Troy Townsend, head of player engagement at anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out, says football should be “ashamed” that the game has never “effectively dealt” with the issue of racism.

“It is an absolute disgrace that players are having to go into their place of work and be subjected to a vile torrent of abuse,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

AC Milan’s players walked off the pitch after France goalkeeper Maignan reported hearing “monkey noises” coming from a section of the crowd at Udinese’s Stadio Friuli. The players eventually returned and Milan went on to win the Serie A match 3-2.

The incident involving Palmer happened during Coventry’s 2-1 Championship win over Sheffield Wednesday and led to the match being stopped for several minutes while the match officials spoke to both managers.

Gianni Infantino, president of world football governing body Fifa, said the incidents were “totally abhorrent” and called for the implementation of an automatic forfeit of games for teams whose fans commit racist abuse.

There is currently a three-step process for incidents of racism that sees matches stopped and restarted twice before finally being abandoned if the abuse continues.

Townsend says that process is not fit for purpose, but has little faith in the authorities to instigate change.

“Why would you give three opportunities to racially abuse players? I just don’t understand it and why it was pushed forward as the next phase of tackling racism.” he added.

“The decision was made by people who never had to suffer racism before, it is that simple. We have to be honest and realise the emotion and trauma that goes on with being abused in that manner.

“I don’t hold confidence and that might be worrying to listen to, but we have been talking about this story for far too long.”

Beckles says he is encouraging players who suffer racist abuse to stop the game and inform the referee, giving them an opportunity to take meaningful action.

“A stoppage in play – however long it takes – forces a response. It creates a window to alert match officials and gives the best chance of identifying those responsible,” he said.

“However, without action, the protocols are useless.”

Coventry owner Doug King has also called for harsher punishments and says he would fully back his players if they walked off the pitch in support of a team-mate who suffered racist abuse.

“The authorities, football authorities and leadership, need to do something else because clearly it isn’t working,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“Forfeiture of the game seems logical and if you have continued transgressions then deduct points.

“We will be fully behind any person who is abused in any manner at our football club, team, staff, stewards. It is just not good enough.”

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