Racism remains a "significant problem" in British football and the Football Association (FA) must lead the battle against racism and discrimination in the game, MPs have said.
An inquiry by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee following high-profile incidents last season has made a number of recommendations to stamp out racism in the game.
The report says the FA must take the lead in the fight against racism in football and set a strong example for others to follow. The report recommends:
- The FA should make it a priority for stewards and club staff to be trained to deal with abuse at club grounds, and to use social media to condemn discrimination.
- Prosecutions in cases of racial abuse at league and club level are "extremely welcome" but similar efforts should be applied to the grassroots game.
- More candidates from ethnic minorities should be trained as coaches and referees.
- Recruitment of managers and directors should be transparent and consistent to encourage greater ethnic diversity.
John Whittingdale, who chairs the committee, said that it was vital that the FA sets a positive example for others to follow:
– Commitee Chairman John Whittingdale
While the general level of progress in combating racism and racist abuse in the UK is positive and should be applauded, there is much more that can and must be done, and we believe it is for the FA to take the lead and set the example for everyone, from football authorities at all levels to the grassroots groups, to follow.
The FA welcomed the report in a statement, saying:
– FA statement
We agree with the Committee that whilst substantial progress has been made to promote equality and tackle discrimination in the game, challenges remain for all of the football authorities.
The inquiry was prompted by a series of recent high-profile controversies last season.
The Chelsea captain John Terry was cleared of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand in court but the case is still under FA investigation. Terry could face a lengthy ban if found guilty at the FA hearing next week.
Liverpool is to order Luis Suarez to shake hands with Manchester United rival Patrice Evra as the two clubs try to defuse tensions before Sunday’s potentially explosive clash.
The teams meet at Anfield with memories of last season’s racism controversy between Suarez and Evra still fresh.
The committee report did not recommend the 'Rooney Rule' be adopted - the system used in American football in the NFL where shortlists for any head coach or senior management vacancy have to have at least one ethnic minority candidate.