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FA produce racism and discrimination action plan

FA Chairman David Bernstein. Photo credit: Sean Dempsey/PA wire FA Chairman David Bernstein. Photo credit: Sean Dempsey/PA wire

Friday, December 21, 2012
8:15 AM

Football Association chairman David Bernstein believes players should not be afraid of coming out as gay as the governing body announced a new drive against racism and discrimination.

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Under the action plan agreed by the FA Board, clubs will face sanctions for failing to deal with racism and discrimination by players, coaches or their fans.

The FA also says it will strive for at least 10% of referees and level one coaches coming from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Players and coaches arriving from abroad will have to undergo mandatory induction lessons to ensure they are aware of the “British cultural environment”.

The plan, which will now be submitted to the Government, follows a Downing Street summit called in February after the Luis Suarez and John Terry racial abuse cases.

Bernstein said: “The over-riding message remains that there is simply no place for any form of discrimination in football.

“There remain challenges ahead in this area and all of football would agree we need to find more ways of developing more black and ethnic minority coaches and creating pathways for them.

“Equally, no football player should fear coming out as gay at the risk of suffering discrimination and we continue to strengthen our support programmes to ensure the game is open to all regardless of their sexuality.”

The action plan has been agreed by the FA, Premier League, Football League, Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), the League Managers’ Association (LMA) and referees’ bodies.

Both the PFA and LMA say they would be in favour of players and managers having it made clear in their contracts they would face action for racist language.

The plan states the organisations would support “standard clauses that address discriminatory language and behaviour, in managers’ and coaches’ contracts.”

The FA will set up an ‘Inclusion Advisory Board’ to oversee the action plan, and will also call “on UEFA to consider minimum standard codes of conduct” as part of the European governing body’s club licensing system.

There have been suggestions that a miminum five-match ban will be brought in for racism but that is some way down the line - it will be considered by a working group.

The action plan states it will “review the sanctions regime to ensure that it is timely, appropriate, proportionate and effective at all levels”.

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