Lord Herman Ouseley, the Kick It Out chairman, has tried to placate Jason Roberts after the Reading striker revealed he felt "let down" by the organisation's fight against racism.
Roberts has decided not to wear the famous Kick It Out T-shirt this weekend in a protest against what he sees as its lack of action in tackling the issue, with suggestions that other players are set to follow suit. Speculation that Aston Villa's black players will not wear the shirts before their game at Fulham was rejected by a club spokesman yesterday.
Ouseley said he can understand the frustration of players following incidents involving John Terry and Luis Suarez. Police are also investigating alleged abuse of Bolton Wanderers players Marvin Sordell, Benik Afobe and Lee Chung-yong at Millwall this month.
"He's not been slow in coming forward about this and I respect his views," said Ouseley. "I can understand his frustrations. If Kick It Out had the power to sort this out then we would have done. Sorry Jason, we don't have that kind of power.
"We in English football have to get our house back in order," he added. "We have to make sure that the things that have happened in the last year do not happen again, and if they are then they are dealt with in a matter of days rather than taking a year to resolve."
Ouseley also said that the decision not to wear a shirt is "a matter for him and his club." The charity is launching its annual week of action, but in the wake of high-profile incidents over the past 12 months, players are becoming increasingly frustrated with a perceived nonchalance from the campaign group.
"I find it hard to wear a T-shirt after what happened last year," Roberts said. "I think people feel let down by what used to be called Let's Kick Racism Out of Football. I'm totally committed to kicking racism out of football but when there's a movement I feel represents the issue in the way that speaks for me and my colleagues, then I will happily support it.
Leroy Rosenior, an ambassador for another campaign, Show Racism the Red Card, had nothing but praise for Roberts' anti-racist credentials: "Jason has been to a lot of our events. He knows what we do and supports the organisation brilliantly."
Serbs start investigation
All Serbia players and staff involved in Tuesday night's Under-21 play-off against England have been asked to make formal statements by the Serbian Football Federation.
England's 1-0 win in Krusevac was marred by accusations of racist abuse directed at their black players and a confrontation involving both teams and coaching staffs at the end.
Uefa has charged both the Football Association and its Serbian equivalent, and last night the governing body fined Lazio £32,500 following racist chanting by their fans during the Europa League game at Tottenham last month.
- More about:
- Aston Villa
- Bolton Wanderers
- John Terry
- Luis Suarez
- Millwall FC
- Premier League
- Styles And Clothes