Footballers To Attend 'Equality Sessions' To Receive Guidance On Language, Banter
Every senior player in the Premier League and Football League "will be obliged to attend a session this season to receive guidance on racist and homophobic language and where banter oversteps the mark," according to Martyn Ziegler of the PA. The Professional Footballers' Association is organizing the sessions, called the ''The Senior Player Programme on Diversity and Equality'' and the union "has written to the managers of all 92 clubs asking them to make sure the players attend." The sessions "will highlight what sort of language is unacceptable -- even as banter in the dressing room -- and encourage players to report incidents if they are either victims or witnesses of abuse." PFA CEO Gordon Taylor said, "We are rolling out these courses on equality and the nature of law in this country so there is no excuse for not abiding by those laws. Letters have gone out to clubs and we need to avoid any such embarrassment again after the recent cases." The program "has been developed by" the PFA in conjunction with the FA, the League Managers' Association and the Premier League. Each session "will last for 45 minutes and will be delivered by two tutors, one of whom will be a former professional player." In the sessions, players "will be given scenarios where abuse occurs -- either from fans or from other players -- and guided as to their correct response." They will also "be asked to judge what they regard as dressing room banter and told whether their views are appropriate" (PA, 8/6).