Talks begin over black players union

Jason Roberts
Jason Roberts (left) was one of a number of players to boycott the 'Kick It Out' t-shirts. Photo: PA

Talks about setting up a black footballers' association have begun involving players from all levels of the game, a human rights lawyer involved in the discussions has confirmed.

Peter Herbert, who chairs the Society of Black Lawyers, said talks about the formation of an organisation - which has a working title of the Black Players' Association - are at a preliminary stage.

It comes after a week in which England Under-21 players were allegedly racially abused in Serbia while a number of players - notably Reading striker Jason Roberts and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand - refused to wear Kick It Out T-shirts at the weekend.

Herbert told Radio Five Live: "I think we have reached a watershed.

"The Society of Black Lawyers have been looking at the situation and held informal talks with a few black players.

"What we needed essentially was for black players themselves to take the initiative which they now appear to have done and form a progressive black footballers' association which can properly represent their interests and speak on their behalf whenever there is a legal issue - they suffered abuse in Serbia, they suffer abuse in the UK.

"Or there is the more mundane discrimination type of matters which give rise to concern every day of the week for the majority of our community.

"That is what we are assisting with. We are in discussions, things are at a preliminary stage."