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Volume 6 No. 211

International Football

Kick It Out Chair Herman Ouseley has "launched a damning attack" on the FA, the Premier League, Chelsea and Liverpool for a failure of "morality" and "leadership" over its handling of the racist abuse incidents by players John Terry and Luis Suárez, according to David Conn of the London GUARDIAN. Ouseley, who has decided to stand down from the FA Council and his other FA positions, said Chelsea and Liverpool protected its players because of its value as "assets." The two clubs did so even when they were alleged, then proven by independent FA commissions, to have "racially abused opponents." Ouseley said, "There is very little morality in football among the top clubs." Ouseley reflected on "a difficult year that turned turbulent" for himself and Kick It Out when groups of players boycotted the campaign's T-shirts in October. Ouseley: "Leadership is so important; you have to send a powerful message that racism is completely unacceptable. But there is a moral vacuum. The big clubs look after their players as assets. There was no bold attitude from them, to say that they would not put up with it" (GUARDIAN, 12/10). The AFP reported Ouseley also "chastised" former Liverpool Manager Kenny Dalglish and ex-Chelsea coach Andre Villas-Boas for "giving too much support to Suarez and Terry during their respective cases." Ouseley, "The FA should have asserted themselves, said they would not put up with people disrespecting the process, but the FA were very slack and weak" (AFP, 12/11).

EX-PLAYERS KICK IT OUT: In London, Neil Ashton reported former player Sol Campbell is "backing a scheme for FA fines to be diverted to Kick It Out and Show Racism the Red Card to help fund anti-racism campaigns." Campbell is among 60 high-profile names "supporting the initiative." Other "top names throwing their weight behind the idea" are Robbie Keane, Gabby Agbonlahor, Chris Powell, John Barnes, Dave Bassett, Shaka Hislop and Graham Taylor (DAILY MAIL, 12/11).

CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS: In London, Ashling O'Connor reported English football's players and managers "would be sacked if found guilty of discrimination under proposals by the game’s authorities to stamp out racism." Premier League clubs are "considering introducing contractual obligations" for all their employees regarding acceptable behavior on and off the pitch, which would "equate the use of discriminatory language to serious gross misconduct." Some clubs already cover racist behavior in their contracts, but others do not. Therefore, the move is "an effort to standardise rules against a backdrop of criticism about the handling of recent high-profile incidents" (LONDON TIMES, 12/11). The London TELEGRAPH reported players and managers coming to England from overseas will have "cultural lessons" to make them aware of rules on discrimination under proposals to tackle racism. PFA CEO Gordon Taylor said that the proposals included all players and managers "having lessons on cultural awareness." Taylor said: "Up until now we have had cultural awareness courses for our apprentices, and the plan now is to extend these to senior players and coaches, including those coming from overseas" (TELEGRAPH, 12/11).

DERBY FALLOUT: The London MIRROR reported nine people have been charged in connection over incidents at Sunday's Manchester derby. Greater Manchester Police made 13 arrests from which nine people -- six Man City fans and three ManU fans -- were charged. Among the charges to be faced are "racially aggravated public order and pitch encroachment" (MIRROR, 12/10).

UEFA President Michel Platini has "reiterated his opposition to goal-line technology despite it being used by FIFA for the first time at the Club World Cup in Japan this week," according to Alex Bath of the LONDON TIMES. The former France int'l, who is favorite to take over from Sepp Blatter as FIFA president in '15, "delivered a swift 'no' when asked if he would follow FIFA’s lead." Platini said, "It is not a question of goal-line technology, it is a question of technology. Where do you begin with the technology and where do you end with the technology?" Platini "has long argued that the money required to introduce technology into the sport could be better spent, and he echoed his previous statements" Tuesday. Platini said, "To put goal-line technology in our competitions is €50M ($65M) in five years. I prefer to give the €50M to the grassroots and development in football than to put €50 million into technology for perhaps one or two goals per year" (LONDON TIMES, 12/11). REUTERS' Patrick Johnston reported Platini, who is in favor of deploying extra officials instead of technology to help make decisions, "will have the opportunity to discuss the issue with Blatter and the rest of the FIFA exec committee at a meeting in Tokyo on Friday." Platini said, "We supported the additional referees that is now accepted by the international board, and with the referee one metre from the line I think if he has good glasses he can see if the ball is inside the goal or outside" (REUTERS, 12/11).

ASIAN AID: THE NATIONAL reported Asian football chiefs "have signed a cooperation pact with their European counterparts in a bid to improve the standard of football in the region." The agreement will see UEFA helping the Asian Football Confederation in "establishing and developing new education, training and refereeing projects, among other events." AFC acting President Zhang Jilong said, "We have a goal to be one of the best confederations of the world, and at the moment Asian football is on the rise, but there is a long way to go" (THE NATIONAL, 12/11).

Scottish Premier League club Celtic is "facing a fixture congestions headache" after the man in charge of arranging SPL fixtures said rearranging the club’s domestic fixtures could lead to a "nightmare," according to the SCOTSMAN. Celtic, which qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League last week after defeating Spartak Moscow, "will face as-yet-unidentified opponents in the New Year." However, despite backing from Kilmarnock Manager Kenny Shiels, the club is unlikely to be "handed a boon" by SPL Secretary Iain Blair, who said moving fixtures at this time of year "isn’t possible." Blair said, "Without interference from the weather, Celtic could potentially find themselves with a backlog of three games [if we re-arranged their fixtures]." It is understood that Celtic Manager Neil Lennon has "not made a request" for league fixtures to be arranged. The club's next Champions League ties will take place on dates in February and March (SCOTSMAN, 12/11).

Thirteen English league clubs "support re-introducing standing at football grounds," according to the BBC. The Football Supporters' Federation is "hoping to win the backing" of MPs for its plan for a small-scale trial with Premier League clubs. The Premier League has released a statement opposing the idea. FSF Coordinator Peter Daykin said: "We need to find out if it can work, and the only way to do that is to trial it." In a statement, the Premier League said they will "not be encouraging the government to change the law." The FSF said that the idea has the support of EPL Aston Villa and the Scottish Premier League plus 12 Football League clubs, including Peterborough United, Cardiff City, Crystal Palace, Derby County and Hull City. The proposal is to introduce a design of "rail seat" currently used in some European countries such as Germany. This incorporates "a safety barrier and a flip-down seat on every other row." The seats can be locked in an upright position, meaning two rows of supporters can stand in between the barriers, which "reduces the danger of a crush." This type of standing area "would also be able to be converted to seating for European competitions," where all-seater stadiums are required (BBC, 12/11). In London, David Conn wrote "senior police officers are prepared to consider the introduction of standing areas at top-flight football grounds" if they can be shown to enhance safety and security, a spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers has said. ACPO representative Bryan Drew said: "ACPO is very happy to engage in this discussion and this debate. ACPO need to be convinced that this change would enhance safety and security" (GUARDIAN, 12/11).