Racism: Football lacks morality and leadership

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In one of the most damning indictments on top flight English football, Lord Herman Ouseley has slammed the games authorities and many top flight clubs. Ouseley’s courageousness in boldly speaking out has sent shock waves across the multi-billion pound sport.

In particular, he argues that the Football Association, the Premier League, Chelsea and Liverpool, lacked ‘morality’ and leadership’ over their handling of the racial abuse incidents by the then England captain John Terry and Luis Suarez.

In a interview earlier this week in the Guardian, Ouseley pointed out that there is, ‘…very little morality in football among the top clubs’, adding that clubs such as Chelsea and Liverpool, protect their players because of their value as ‘assets’, even when they were found guilty of racially abusing players.

Statements made by Chelsea and Liverpool and their then managers, André Villas-Boas and Kenny Dalglish, turned the attention not on the perpetrators of racial abuse but on the victims, Patrice Evra and Anton Ferdinand. One England manger Fabio Capello was eventually forced out for unequivocally defending Terry, whilst the present England manager Roy Hodgson, praised Terry as a "warrior" and selected him for the European Championship, despite the criminal charge pending of a racially aggravated public order offence, of which Terry was acquitted.

What seemed liked adding insult to injury occurred when many Black players frustrated with the way racism was not being effectively dealt with they began a boycott of Ouseley’s ‘Kick out racism’ campaign. Black players particularly felt aggrieved with the England manager’s inclusion of Terry, whilst excluding, Anton Ferdinand’s brother Rio. Ouseley fiercely supported the Black player’s right to speak out about the ongoing racism within the sport, but attacking, ‘Kick it out’, seemed like metaphorically kicking your dog after a bad day at work.

Having stepped down from the FA council, Ouseley is considering stepping down from ‘Kick it out’ too when he feels it is strong enough to recover from a difficult year.

But let’s make no mistake about Lord Ouseley: he can be largely credited for instigating one of the most successful anti-racist campaigns ever seen in this country. Before Kick it out’, most football stadiums used to be a weekly hot bed of fanatical racial hatred, a place where Black had to fear for the well-being. Although not completely erased, abuse and attacks around football stadiums are at there all time low.

I hope Ouseley will continue his fantastic work for sometime to come. The football authorities, the clubs and the Black community should fully and unequivocally support him too.

Simon Woolley

Archived Comments

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Racism Back With A Vengeance.

The last New Labour government and this present coalition government have allowed people of far right disposition to get deeply involved in the government, in key decision making positions, and have paved the way for them to impose those views on all court rooms in this country. This is one of the many negative result's of such a backward thinking move.

The fellow that was recently cleared in court of using racist language - thanks to the lyrics of some hip-hop songs - and, other court cases that have made the news for similar situations have been as a result of government policies; which also highlights the government's intent.

Darcus Howe once wrote in an article in The Voice Newspaper that "Racism is back with a vengeance." With the likes of Boris Johnson in control of authority, I endorse those words.

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