PFA announce six-point plan
Tougher penalties and instant sackings for racist abuse, plus the introduction of the 'Rooney rule' to boost the numbers of black coaches, are part of a six-point plan put forward by the Professional Footballers' Association to tackle discrimination.
The plan, announced by PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor, comes in response to a number of players who expressed frustration over their union, with there even being talk of a breakaway organisation for black players.
Most of the points on the PFA action plan would have to be agreed by the FA and the leagues, who say they will study the proposals. Taylor outlined the PFA's action plan in a statement to the Press Association.
The plan calls for: the process of dealing with reported racist abuse to be dealt with more quickly; consideration of stiffer penalties for racist abuse and to include an equality awareness programme for culprits and clubs involved; and an English form of the 'Rooney rule', introduced by the NFL in the United States in 2003, to make sure qualified black coaches are on interview lists for job vacancies.
Meanwhile, it also includes measures to monitor the proportion of black coaches and managers and any inequality or progress highlighted; demands for racial abuse to be considered gross misconduct in player and coach contracts [and therefore potentially a sackable offence]; and highlights the desire to not lose sight of other equality issues such as gender, sexual orientation, disability, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and Asians in football.
The FA are due to issue a response to the Government before turn of the year following a summit on tackling racism in football at 10 Downing Street in May, on behalf of all of the game. The PFA's action plan will feed into that response, although there is no guarantee all the points will be supported by the FA.
The Premier League said they would discuss the PFA plan with their 20 members clubs.
A Premier League spokesman said: "When we receive this proposal we will of course discuss it with the PFA at our regular meetings and engage with our clubs and other organisations, including the FA, Football League and the LMA, to discuss these important issues. The Premier League is a meritocracy and is committed to promoting equality and diversity in football and eradicating all forms of discrimination from the game."
It is understood however that neither the FA nor the Premier League are in favour of bringing in the Rooney Rule, where clubs would be obliged to have at least one candidate from ethnic minorities on shortlists for coaching jobs.
FA chairman David Bernstein announced on Tuesday that the governing body will review the sanctions for racist abuse following the John Terry case, but insisted the Chelsea captain's four-match ban was "about right".