John Terry and Luis Suarez to face Fifa grilling on racism

 

edinburgh

John Terry and Luis Suarez look certain to be summoned before Fifa's new anti-racism chief in a crackdown on discrimination, following an unprecedented spate of recent incidents that have tarnished the image of English football. Jeffrey Webb, the head of Fifa's anti-racism taskforce, has asked to see Chelsea's captain and Liverpool's Uruguayan striker as part of a global campaign to clean up the game.

Terry was banned for four games, and Suarez eight, last season after verbal assaults against Anton Ferdinand and Patrice Evra respectively. "It is a huge concern to be honest. I think the incidents were unacceptable," said Webb. "Football has been talking for a long time but we have not been sufficiently supporting the [abused] players."

Webb, one of Fifa's most refreshing reformers, took over last year from the disgraced Jack Warner as Fifa vice-president and Concacaf president. Yesterday he held a lengthy meeting here with the FA chairman, David Bernstein, at the AGM of the International Football Association Board, the law-making body who comprise Fifa and the four home associations, and they plan further talks.

"I will be meeting with David Bernstein and visiting the FA," said Webb. "At that time I would also like to meet with some of the players, perhaps have a round-table discussion to talk to the players and get their input, get some suggestions from them and learn from what their experiences are.

"Obviously there's a number of players who have been victimised, targeted. We would ideally like to hear both sides."

Although Webb conceded the FA had done more than most to tackle racism, he was keen to comprehend what had prompted so many high-visibility cases. "The FA have been very aggressive in their campaign. I think if these incidents do exist in an environment such as the Premier League then it begs the question what happens in some other leagues where they don't have the resources and the will."

Once the new taskforce, comprising a minimum of six officials, have been given their rules of engagement at Fifa's executive committee on 21 March, Webb warned that relegation could become the ultimate sanction for clubs whose players and fans are repeatedly found guilty of racial abuse. "I don't think we've necessarily put the right sanctions in place," he said. "It's a travesty that it comes to that. We have to be strong. The talking time is over, it's time to put proper things in place." Asked if that meant clubs being relegated, he replied: "Yes it does."

Although Webb backed away from any suggestion of institutional racism, he said an intensive educational campaign was needed to open more doors for black players and managers. "As a football family, overall we have to sit down and take a look in the mirror. What happens to the players after they finish playing? Do they really have a chance at being a professional manager? Do people of colour really have a chance to become executive directors of various clubs and boards? That is something on which you can give me an answer.

"I played football and I wanted to go into administration. Sol Campbell might want to be the next coach for Arsenal. Do they really have that opportunity? We need to put in place an educational programme"

Bernstein said Webb's visit could only improve anti-discrimination measures. "We had a very positive and productive meeting," he said. "I have invited him to London as soon as possible for a round-table discussion with players and administrators from across the English game. As I have made clear, the fight against racism and discrimination is at the very top of my agenda."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?