PFA announce six-point anti-racism plan

Rio Ferdinand refused to wear a t-shirt supporting Kick It Out Photo: PA Images

Players' chief Gordon Taylor has announced a six-point action plan to deal with racism in football after criticism from some members.

The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) chief executive says the union wants tougher penalties for racist abuse including making it potentially a sackable offence, culprits ordered to attend awareness programmes and a form of the 'Rooney rule' to boost the number of black coaches and managers.

Taylor's response comes after Reading striker Jason Roberts, a member of the PFA's management committee, expressed frustration that his recommendations had not been acted on.

Taylor outlined the PFA's action plan in a statement to the Press Association. The plan calls for:

1 Speeding up the process of dealing with reported racist abuse with close monitoring of any incidents.

2 Consideration of stiffer penalties for racist abuse and to include an equality awareness programme for culprits and clubs involved.

3 An English form of the 'Rooney rule' - introduced by the NFL in America in 2003 - to make sure qualified black coaches are on interview lists for job vacancies.

4 The proportion of black coaches and managers to be monitored and any inequality or progress highlighted.

5 Racial abuse to be considered gross misconduct in player and coach contracts (and therefore potentially a sackable offence).

6 To not to lose sight of other equality issues such as gender, sexual orientation, disability, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and Asians in football.

Taylor also called for unity in the wake of some players considering forming a breakaway organisation for black players.

He said: "If they want their own particular select group who they feel they can influence everybody more than the whole PFA as a union together, I would say they are seriously mistaken.

"If we are not careful this will set us back years. It would not only set back the game, it would set back the anti-racist initiative."

Roberts said he had pleaded with the PFA to beef up their equality department.

He told the Daily Mail: "The equality department in the PFA needs to change and should have stronger leadership and more than just one or two staff. It doesn't have the resources or the manpower to tackle the job.

"These are the issues that I felt needed to be raised. Detailed discussions and recommendations have been tabled for a year now, across several meetings, without any progress being made."

FA chairman David Bernstein announced yesterday that the governing body will review the sanctions for racist abuse following the John Terry case but insisted the Chelsea's captain's four-match ban was "about right".

Meanwhile, former West Brom and Arsenal defender Brendon Batson has called on black players not to form a breakaway group.

Batson, a former PFA administrator, told BBC Radio Five: "I'd be really disappointed if there was a split and I don't think there would be any benefit.

"What we need to do is address the concerns of current black players, hear their voice and see if we can do something about it.

"We should be very proud of what has happened. Before you had National Front targeting black players and the volume of abuse at stadiums was horrendous.

"The campaign (Kick It Out) when it started off was not just a black issue, all the players supported the campaigns and other campaigns.

"It was a united front against racism and I think we need to harness the anger of the current players and let it be an instrument for change, but I don't think a split will help the situation."