Premier League leading racism battle says Richard Scudamore

 

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has declared that English football will continue to lead the fight against racism.

A parliamentary inquiry into racism in sport has been scheduled for March 6 in response to the Luis Suarez case and allegations of racism against John Terry.

Suarez, the Liverpool striker, is serving an eight-match ban for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra while England captain Terry has been charged by the police for allegedly racially abusing QPR's Anton Ferdinand. Terry denies the charge.

The high-profile incidents have placed the subject back under the spotlight, but Scudamore insists English football is unrivalled in its appetite to rid the game of racism.

"When it comes to the racism issue there is zero tolerance," he said.

"We as a sport have led the line and continue to lead the line, there's no room for it.

"I'm absolutely confident that England football's record in dealing with this issue is good.

"All that's happened in the last few weeks has been dealt with.

"Look at the reaction to it from the media, supporters and public.

"It's been dealt with. I'm proud that we're in a country that can deal with it.

"The reaction we've seen here is far better than what happens in many other countries, where it wouldn't have even got any column inches."

Senior figures from Liverpool are expected to appear before the parliamentary inquiry and Scudamore insists the Premier League also expect to be involved.

"The government is entitled to do what they think is in the public interest. If they want to raise it, that's fine," he said.

"Whether or not we'll be asked to take part I don't know. On the basis that I assume we might be, we'll go along and talk about the fantastic work we've done.

"But nobody's complacent, there's always work to be done. If there's more we can do then fine."

Scudamore was speaking at a Premier League 4 Sport event, which has exceeded initial targets of engaging young people in four Olympic sports by over 50%.

The pioneering sports participation programme has provided 39,327 youngsters with the chance to sample badminton, judo, table tennis and volleyball.

The joint venture between the Premier League, Sport England and the Youth Sport Trust is to receive an extra £2million of funding from the Premier League because of its success.

Basketball, handball, hockey and netball will also be added to the sports available.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt stated that in principle the Premier League clubs could apply for government money if they proved successful in attracting youngsters to sport.

Scudamore added: "As long as there is a level of financial commitment from the Premier League and Premier League clubs, I don't see why these schemes shouldn't qualify for public money.

"Does it matter as long as it's right?"

PA

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