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SBD Global/November 8, 2012/International Football

The Society Of Black Lawyers Releases 10-Point Plan To Tackle Racism In Football

The body behind plans for a black players' union said that "footballers guilty of racist abuse should be sacked by their clubs and banned for up to nine months," according to BBC.com. The Society of Black Lawyers "has put out a 10-point plan to tackle racism." It "wants matches to be abandoned if there is racial abuse from fans." In addition, the society has also warned the FA and Tottenham Hotspur that "it will make a complaint to police unless action is taken against what it says is anti-Semitic abuse taking place at White Hart Lane." The plan calls for:
  • A minimum six to nine-month ban for racial abuse, rising to a five-year ban for a third offense.
  • Any fines going directly to Kick It Out to fund grassroots anti-racism initiatives.
  • The creation of representative associations for black players, managers and coaches.
  • Guidance for referees to send off players using racist abuse, and the power to call off games where the crowd is using such abuse.
  • A 20% quota at all levels of the FA, Professional Footballers' Association, clubs as well as football agents and referees.
  • Racial abuse to be a matter of gross misconduct incorporated into players' contracts.
  • Clubs to invest in the personal education of all players, including university or college education.
  • Recording referees and assistants during matches to pick up any possible abuse by players.
  • A system for reporting racial incidents to be set up with details of such incidents, both on and off the pitch, published each year (BBC.com, 11/7).
ESPN DOCUMENTARY EXAMINES RACISM: Last night’s season finale of ESPN’s “E:60” examined Beitar Jerusalem FC, a football team in the Israeli Premier League, whose supporters are notoriously racist in their taunts and threatening toward Arab players on other teams. ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap said the team “doesn’t have any Arab players (and) is the only team in Israeli Premier League that has never had any Arab players.” ESPN Coordinating Producer Michael Baltierra said, “This story, at its core, is about racism.” Schapp said when the “Jewish fans” in the stadium “start saying things like, ‘Death to Islam, death to the Arabs,’ it’s chilling.” Schapp said Beitar is “associated more with intolerance and racism” than with its past success on the field. Beitar Jerusalem FC Chair Itzik Kornfein said, “Recently in Jerusalem, there are many difficulties between Arabs and Jews, and we didn’t want to get into this issue because it’s a very, very painful issue with our fans, and our fans are very militant about bringing an Arab player to the team.” Schaap said, “In recent years, Beitar has struggled, especially financially. Sponsors and perspective owners have shied away, repelled by the racism in … (the) stands. Still, Beitar hasn’t signed an Arab.” Schaap said the Israel FA has “punished Beitar repeatedly for the behavior of its fans, imposing fines, deducting points in the standings,” but IFA CEO Ori Shilo “said he cannot compel Beitar to sign an Arab player.” Shilo: “They answer to us on limited (basis). We cannot start forcing our views to save spots for minorities. I don’t think it happens anywhere, and we cannot do it. I don’t think legally we have the basis to do it.” Shilo said over the years, “nobody in the management of Beitar … has the courage or the will to do it.” Schaap noted Kornfein is “trying to combat the racist elements” at among the supports of Beitar, and “for his efforts he’s received death threats” (“E:60,” ESPN, 11/6).
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