Culture, Media and Sport Committee - Racism in Football - Minutes of EvidenceHC 89

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House of commons



Culture, Media and Sport Committee

Racism in Football

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Paul Elliott MBE and Gordon Taylor

David Bernstein, SUE LAW, LORD OUSELEY and Raj Chandarana

Evidence heard in Public Questions 1 - 86

Oral Evidence

Taken before the Culture, Media and Sport Committee

on Tuesday 15 May 2012

Members present:

Mr John Whittingdale (Chair)

Dr Thérèse Coffey

Damian Collins

Philip Davies

Louise Mensch

Steve Rotheram

Mr Adrian Sanders

Mr Gerry Sutcliffe


Examination of Witnesses

Witnesses: Paul Elliott MBE, formerly of Celtic and Chelsea, and Gordon Taylor OBE, Professional Footballers’ Association, gave evidence.

Chair: Good morning. This is a one-off session the Committee decided to hold to look at the extent of racism in football on the back of a number of worrying incidents that have occurred, both among players and spectators. Therefore we thought it important to determine the scale of the problem and whether enough is being done to tackle it. I would like to welcome, for our first panel, Paul Elliott, who has been before the Committee before, formerly of Celtic and Chelsea, and I think you also work closely with Show Racism the Red Card. I would also like to welcome Gordon Taylor-a name very familiar to the Committee but I am pleased we will be talking about football this morning-the Chief Executive of the PFA. Can I invite Adrian Sanders to begin.

Q1 Mr Sanders: Good morning. Can I ask you a very simple question and it is to both of you. I know it is some years ago for you, Gordon, but can you remember back in your playing days any experience of racism on the pitch and in the grounds? Paul, obviously more recently, can you recall your experience of racism on the pitch and in the grounds?

Gordon Taylor: From my own point of view, I suppose, going back a long way and starting in the professional game at 16 with Bolton Wanderers, it was quite rare to have any black players, let alone Asian players. I can recall people like Bill Perry, the Blackpool player who featured in the 1950s. It is only now that we even go back and see the tributes being paid to the early black players, the likes of Walter Tull and Arthur Wharton, where we are recognising them now. But it was more towards the end of my career in the 1970s that you then became more aware of some of the abuse with regard to players like Clive Best at West Ham and then Albert Johanneson at Leeds United.

So it was then, having retired from playing football in 1980 and joining the PFA full time, I became much more aware of the issues as more black players were coming into the game. That is why I was very pleased when Brendon Batson-who has been well featured in programmes about racism and black players, because he was quite prominent when he and the late Laurie Cunningham and Cyrille Regis were known as the Three Degrees, at West Bromwich Albion-was coming to the end of his career and wanted to go into coaching and management, and I asked him to come and help me at the PFA. So that is when I got a good insight into it. Then later on, of course, people like Garth Crooks were very much involved, and coming up to the present day with Paul and Bobby Barnes.

I have tried to get into the feelings of the black players. The 1980s was a decade that was very bad for health and safety and hooliganism, as we know. There were bad tragedies with the likes of Heysel and Hillsborough and Bradford and Birmingham and there was a very vitriolic element among supporters. It led to our being excluded from Europe. I was asking those close to me, whom I have referred to, whether in fact we should make a real strong stand and, if there was this abuse, whether we should get the black players to come off the field and they said no, they wanted to be treated as footballers. This was something that they felt had to be dealt with by the clubs. They did not feel confident enough.

After the Bosman ruling in the 1990s and the advent of the Premier League, our game became much more cosmopolitan. There was a much bigger influence of players from abroad, and that included many black players, and I felt an increasing level of confidence that they should stand up and be counted. That was at the time when we were approached by Lord Herman Ouseley and the Commission for Racial Equality and asked to combine with them, linked in with Government, to make a real stand against this. My black members felt confident enough and said, yes, this was something they felt we should do and, as a result, we formed the Kick It Out campaign. That led to the European Parliament getting on board with the Years Against Racism. We put it on the agenda of UEFA and FIFA, and I felt it had moved on a great deal, to the extent that we had quite a number of other splinter groups.

Show Racism the Red Card is a body that we fund. We have put millions into funding, and that goes into schools and local authorities and aims at children, the next generation, and uses players, black and white, to encourage them. That is why I felt we had made such progress. Young players, when we had gone into clubs-because it is on the agenda or curriculum for our apprentices-could not relate to some of the incidents that we had had in the past. That is why this season has been a particularly disturbing season-that it should have arisen again at a senior level, which has been quite embarrassing and made us think that we have to address it again in perhaps a new manner.

Q2 Mr Sanders: Can I just come back to the question? Going back to your playing days, you would have been a contemporary of the West Bromwich Albion players, I presume, towards the end. You must have played against West Brom, did you, or at least other teams that may have had black players? Were you conscious at that time of other players making comments against such players, or indeed chanting or comment from the ground? Can you remember any incidences of that in your playing career?

Gordon Taylor: No. In all honesty, the abuse you used to get was if you were losing or not playing well. At Bolton we didn’t have that good a time, but then again we didn’t do too bad. No, it was more in a good-natured manner. I felt for some reason the 1980s became a decade where the game could have gone down the drain. You know that the Prime Minister was thinking about needing identification to even get into a ground. Then, football blamed Government; Government blamed football.

But I always felt the answer was a combined approach and it led to that because I was astonished to find, dealing with the police, that different areas of police throughout the country would not release information to other police bodies with regard to known football hooliganism. So we set up, through the chief police officers, a national intelligence unit. Then we had closed circuit television. Then in football we developed a community programme so the players were going into local communities and sort of preaching the gospel of good behaviour and against racism, because one of the key platforms of that community programme in football, which is quite unique in the world, was to work against racism. As a result I just feel that suddenly, with all seated stadiums, the whole issue of bad behaviour was being addressed and racism was contained within that.

Mr Sanders: Racism and hooliganism are not necessarily the same thing.

Gordon Taylor: No, but it did get grouped into the same bad behaviour, for example. That was a segment, in the same way as if you are dealing with equality. As you know, we have dealt with homophobia and other issues.

Q3 Mr Sanders: Yes. Paul, can I ask what your experience was as a player and whether in fact the situation has improved since your career started?

Paul Elliott: My career started, as I think Gordon touched on, when he was coming to the end of his and, thereafter, it was the first generation of black players, Cyrille Regis, Brendon Batson, myself, Garth Crooks, Bobby Barnes, who were trying to forge our way in the professional game at that juncture. I think you probably have to look at the state of society, and football in many respects probably contained the ugliness of society in that minority element where you had these extremists who were obviously trying to launch their own recruitment drives, and possibly using football clubs as a catalyst or platform to do just that; and black players, myself and others, became the scourge of that.

I think that that was probably a very difficult challenge for us because fundamentally there was no real tangible, measurable legislation in place and myself, Garth and others just had to put up with it, focus on our game and do the best we could according to our ability. That kind of vitriolic abuse was utterly unacceptable, but understanding where I come from-second generation; parents came from the West Indies, made a real positive contribution to this country-I soon realised that I had to work twice as hard and have a thick layer of skin to enable me to deal with that. Fundamentally all I wanted, which is what all my colleagues wanted, was that fundamental human right to work in a racist-free environment, like you do in the office or like you do anywhere else, but regrettably that wasn’t the case. So we just had to get our heads down and work hard, but some of the abuse, I have to say, was horrific, certainly from the monkey chanting and the booing, and in my career thereafter I went to Scotland and Italy where I came across other forms of discrimination. While Scotland is a wonderful, beautiful place and I made lots of friends, and the same with Italy, I think the reality was the sectarianism sort of crossed over with the racism as well, but they have 100 years of history there that is ongoing and very difficult to change.

However, I think it was about the catalyst, the turning point to that, and Gordon correctly stated about the Commission for Racial Equality and the Government with the PFA. I think what I call that collective, collaborative approach then-and following thereafter to the present day-was always going to be a multi-stakeholder, collective affair that was obviously going to challenge the issues. So I think that at that juncture it was extremely difficult, but we just had to get on with it. We had to bear the brunt of it and, thereafter, one just hoped that things incrementally got better and became more progressive, which it did.

Q4 Mr Sanders: Paul, can I ask, was it just racism from the crowd or did you experience racism from other players you were playing against, or even did you ever experience it within the clubs you played for?

Paul Elliott: Certainly, from a personal perspective there was one or two incidents with other players, one or two from my own team but also from other teams as well, that used to use that as a catalyst to try and put you off your game. I wouldn’t say necessarily they were bigoted or they were racist. However, they tend to use that to, for want of a better word, psychologically destabilise you-make you not as strong, not as dominant as you are. One or two parties that made those comments to me were quick to come up at the end of the game and shake your hand and say, "Well, it’s all just part of the game", when we know it is not part of the game. It is utterly unacceptable. That was how I could contextualise that.

Q5 Chair: Just out of interest, when they came up to you at the end of the game to shake your hand and say, "Well, it’s all part of the game", did you shake their hand?

Paul Elliott: No, I refused to do that. What they did not understand, obviously, was the personalised effect, how it feels, the humiliation, when you have supporters booing and monkey chanting, imitating you as a monkey and the references back to, obviously, the connotations of slavery. They were totally ignorant of that and they would not understand it because the bottom line is they are not walking in my shoes. I am a black man and a very proud black man. So I think that was the direct correlation and obviously the lack of education, the ignorance that was clearly visible.

But that was then. Having been in this space as an ex-player but thereafter as a campaigner for in excess of 20 years, I think that I have been very privileged, in a way, to work alongside the key stakeholders, to be engaged with them and to see the measure of progress that has been made. We have spoken about, for want of a better word, the ugly side but I think there has been a huge upside as well and that, for me, is very, very important. When you have these serious, sensitive issues people sometimes tend to focus on the problem but what I tend to do is to look at the solutions.

Q6 Chair: You say there has been a huge amount of progress, and all of us thought that was the case as well, which is why it came as something of a shock that we have had several quite serious incidents. Do you think that is a one-off or do you think the problem is much greater than we had hoped it was?

Paul Elliott: There are clearly issues. I welcome this inquiry. I think it is very important that we are here collectively deliberating it in a public forum. This is absolutely important because you realise the issue of racism is not just contained to the field of play itself. There are other forms of discrimination, whether it be institutional, by virtue of your sexuality, or by virtue of your disability. We are talking about black coaches, black managers. There are whole raft of areas that obviously need serious debate.

Gordon Taylor: May I just come in, please? On the point that Paul has referred to with sectarianism as well, you made the point about distinguishing between racism and hooliganism, but part of the hooliganism was perpetrated by organisations such as the National Front, who used football clubs as their vehicle and, to that extent, that was-

Paul Elliott: That is the point I was making before. Those parties were the catalyst to that. It was their presence in stadiums, their using stadiums to launch their own recruitment drives, that was the catalyst to penetrating negativity at stadiums, and obviously thereafter you have a bit of a domino effect. That was clearly visible during my time, not just in the UK but also in Scotland and also in Italy as well.

Q7 Louise Mensch: Can I just ask Paul specifically, when a player would come up to you on the pitch and people have been chanting, using monkey chants, and the player uses a racist word-he uses the "N" word, maybe-did you ever feel tempted to punch them? I am serious. Were you tempted to violence?

Paul Elliott: If I am being honest with you, I actually did that once as a 16-year-old boy, and it was the worst mistake I ever made. Obviously, being 16 I was probably a boy playing in men’s football, because I was actually playing in the first team at the time at Charlton, my very first club. It was something I regretted because, first and foremost, I saw it as a sign of weakness. Although most people had empathy with me, with my frustrations and so on, I realised that I had let my team down from a professional perspective, because that was the turning point of the game when I was sent off. So I can understand it from a professional context.

However, from a personalised context, sometimes one has to make a stand and I clearly was not as mature as I am now, as a man and having grown in the game and grown in life. Gordon made reference to a point about black players. When we had discussions, many of them talked about walking off the pitch. Personally it is something I would never advocate because I think that is a sign of weakness and, moreover, the authorities are there. You have a referee there who has a mandate. There is a duty of care from the referee. He has that mandate to do just that, and that is a problem for the authorities and the custodians of the game.

Q8 Louise Mensch: But, as a human being, the anger must have risen up in you and it must have taken an effort of will to control yourself at moments like that.

Paul Elliott: Yes, of course. At 16, I think it is a very young age to be playing in the first team and, yes, I attacked the issues with real vigour. If you look at various incidents with players over the years, it is that build-up of frustration because, as I pointed out before, all you wanted was equality of opportunity on the field of play. You should not have to be dealing with those other issues as well.

Q9 Louise Mensch: In terms of how it affected you personally, can we talk a little bit about how racism, and indeed other forms of discrimination, which I will come on to in a second, get excused as "banter"? I do not know whether this applies to players, but certainly to football supporters who think, "You are all lads. You are all men. It is a man’s game". Often "laddishness" is also cited as well as "banter". You know, "You should be up for a bit of stick and it is all part and parcel". How much do you think that culture of banter is used as an excuse against racism by people who, as you said, have never walked in your shoes and do not know what it is like?

Paul Elliott: Of course it has been used, and I think it is about clarity as to what is acceptable and what is unacceptable and the boundaries within that, because the reality is no one is above the law. I think then, because there was no real what I would call enforcement procedures, we looked at the attitudes of the parties within the structures of the game. It is clearly not consistent with where we are now, and I just sense that the game has moved on, the game has progressed and, yes-

Gordon Taylor: I think from that point of view, Louise, in fairness to Paul, he has explained his generation were almost told, to a certain extent-apart from when he did react-to put up with it and get on with it. Today’s generation of black players are far less prepared to do that or accept it as banter and that is what we are facing now, because it is a different generation.

Paul Elliott: Yes, and nor should they put up with it.

Q10 Louise Mensch: Of course not, but while players are making a stand and saying, "I will not put up with this, it is not banter", Gordon, can I ask you how much do you think that within the game, whether at club level or referee level, there is a certain attempt made to excuse racism and other forms of discrimination by the fact that those people say it is a man’s game? There are 90% more men in the stands than women, and there is this sort of culture of masculinity that has a warped view and says, "This is banter. You should have a thick skin. You should put up with a bit of it".

Gordon Taylor: I talked about the game facing its nadir, and the response to stadiums and the civilisation of the game with a lot more females coming to the game, a lot more families coming to the game, and then it became incumbent upon the game to make sure that it was a safe and pleasant environment. From that point of view, I think that is the current challenge: to make sure that it is not that sort of banter that involves racism, homophobia or other different elements-of course against females as well-that it just is not part of the game’s vocabulary. To some extent, you will be aware on this Committee that we have entertainment that changes in time but everybody is aware, if you are watching a so-called comedy show, what would be acceptable and not acceptable now. You switch back a few decades and you will see stuff that was on there and you think, "How did they get away with that?" To that extent, that is the educational process.

While we have educated our youngsters coming into the game-even younger than that-through Show Racism the Red Card, I have been very impressed by the knowledge of racism of youngsters at schools. We underestimate our children at times. What I do find is there is still a need to address the issues you are talking about with our senior players, particularly those who have come into the country, and also with our management and coaching staff and, above all, boards of directors.

Paul Elliott: To support Gordon’s statement, I think Show Racism the Red Card has been instrumental. So has the Kick It Out movement. Both are excellent resources and using players as role models, particularly for the younger generation, is very important and I think we have seen the whole social integration. If we look at the majority of our football clubs all over the country we can see the outstanding work they are doing using football as a catalyst to deliver key social messages, whether it is health, fitness, inclusion or "in this space" anti-racism. Clubs like Charlton Athletic and Millwall have done some fantastic work.

I sense that if you look at the composition of stadiums and you look at that vein of diversity inside stadiums, whether it be the disabled-you have only to look at certain incidents. Last season when there were comments about Sian Massey, you looked at the outrage. For me, that is a measurable aspect of how far the game has come. When we spoke about the boundaries of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable, for me that is a true reflection of the way society has evolved and football has evolved. Women’s and girls’ football is the fastest growing sport in the country. The FA have over 6,600 affiliated teams. I think we have moved on in a positive space. However, there are still some big challenges and I think that is what we can’t lose sight of.

Q11 Louise Mensch: Would you agree that one of those challenges, when we talk about moving on in the culture shift-and I fully appreciate what Gordon is saying. I think Paul is of the same age as people who would have grown up seeing It Ain’t Half Hot, Mum on BBC1 and that must have been a terrible thing, looking back on it. How on earth did that ever get shown? It never would today. But do you think, as we move on and new technologies come in, one of the fronts on which football has to fight is social media, which is becoming so much more important? You will both be aware, I am sure, of the recent naming of the teenage rape victim of Ched Evans of Sheffield United on Twitter. She was named by literally many hundreds of-I hesitate to call them football fans, but often using the tag "lad" and "banter".

So the word "banter" had literally become, online, a vehicle for abuse, whether it is racist abuse, sexist abuse, homophobic abuse or whatever. This appears to me to open up a new front, if you like, in the war on racism. There needs to be a bit more of both the footballing authorities-in terms of monitoring what so-called fans are putting out online-and the players speaking up and saying, "This is unacceptable", as they show the leadership you just referred to. This young lady was traduced in the most appalling way on threads entitled "banter", and of course it is a criminal offence to name a victim of rape. So we do see this "banter" being used as an excuse for all forms of discrimination and widely prevalent online. What are your views on fighting racism and other forms of discrimination online?

Gordon Taylor: We have the FA here as well and David Bernstein. I think it is fair to say that people were not always appreciative, when it came to the decision with regard to the Luis Suárez case, that where it is accepted, confirmed or the decision is made that there has been racist abuse, then the penalty is double the norm. The FA have acted with regard to Twitter and social media and Facebook. This is going to be a continuing problem for us, to educate our members, because this is the social media world that we are dealing with. In the same way, I think it has been encouraging that, when you have had certain black commentators and analysts on the game being abused, police have taken action on it as well.

Q12 Louise Mensch: There was certainly outrage on the social media when Sepp Blatter said that it was part of the game and should be accepted. That was widely condemned, so it is not all a force for evil. You can certainly get that fight against racism coming through on social media.

Paul Elliott: Again, that is a measure of the progress that has been made, when you have had the President of FIFA making those comments and he was condemned and obviously thereafter he issued a public apology. But in response to your previous point, we all know the negative effects of the social media, but within the game we are understanding that and there has been strong leadership-I think sanctions-in that space. It has to be a combination of education but also strong messages and zero tolerance, with sanctions in that space because, as in the illustration that you have correctly given, it is utterly unacceptable.

When I talk about this whole ballgame approach, when I talk about this collective collaborative effect with all the various stakeholders-this area of racism, discrimination, prejudice, inequality-I think there has been a strong collective responsibility and leadership. It started with the FA, with the Premier League thereafter, and I think particularly the Suárez case was clear. An independent commission has found that comprehensive beyond reasonable doubt. In my opinion, that is a real test and a measure of how far we have come compared to the illustration I gave as a player, and exactly where we are now in this 21st century. But we should also be mindful of the other challenges, and I hope, working with all the stakeholders, we are going to show the same vigour, which is very important, and the assertiveness in challenging those as well.

Q13 Philip Davies: Paul, I was just intrigued, in your answer to Louise you said that we need to make it clear what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. I think we can all see what things are clearly unacceptable. I wondered, because I think this is where it can be quite difficult, where you or where we or where the football authorities should draw the line between what is acceptable in terms of banter from the stands and what is unacceptable, because there are clear cases of things. I wondered where you felt that line should be drawn.

Paul Elliott: Well, I think it is quite clear. When we are talking about somebody’s race, colour, creed, religion, disability, sexuality, they are all utterly unacceptable. They are all forms of discrimination. I think that that is where it is unacceptable and I generally feel in that space we have been very progressive. I think it would be reasonable to say as well that society has evolved. We are all trying to cope with the times. Football is trying to cope with those times. I genuinely feel that the progress, the collective-as I said to you, I think this is one area that the whole football family are engaged on. Everybody is engaged collectively, and I think that is being reflected, but I sense that it is about the sustainability of that. The sustainability of the investment, the sustainability of the education, the sustainability of the consistent applications of sanctions when proven is the way for me to keep up to speed with the 21st-century challenges in this space.

Q14 Philip Davies: What I am driving at is, I just wondered, in order to tackle racism in football and other forms of discrimination, whether or not the football authorities should or could-whether it might even be practical-have more of a zero tolerance to abuse generally in football. Unfortunately we do not have the Referees Association here, but I suspect that one group of people who probably feel they get the most abuse in football are the referees; people questioning their parentage, questioning their eyesight, questioning whether they are corrupt and have backed one of the teams on the football coupons or whatever it might be. I just wondered whether or not there was a feeling that just too much abuse generally was allowed within football and whether or not there should be more of a zero tolerance approach to any kind of abuse.

Gordon Taylor: It is a very good point. I feel that if you are an actor-and at times footballers are called actors, or actresses if it is the female game-you would not go to perform on stage and expect to be verbally abused but, as Louise has said, it has become part of the nature of the game. When it is done in the best possible way-I can think of one example with the Champions League Final when Liverpool were playing against Milan and they were 3:0 down at half time. The crowd just began to sing-not bad songs, the sort of songs that were inspiring.

From that point of view, everybody in this room will know, I hope, what should be acceptable. When we go to these classes of youngsters, under-11s, under-12s, they talk about racism and how they understand it. They say if you refer to the colour of a person’s skin, if you refer to their nationality, if you refer to any physical feature-and they go through the whole range. It is everything on its different merits, on its own case, but the more civilised we get the more we should know what is acceptable and not acceptable.

That is why, no doubt, if you had members of the comedy profession here they would say how much harder it is for them now, bearing in mind what used to be acceptable and how comedians like Bernard Manning would virtually have a whole litany of what would be unacceptable these days, and how things have changed. I would like to think that football can play its part in that because it is so visual. But we do accept, because we are in the public domain, that all the good things that we and the players’ foundations do don’t get the press, of course, and that the bad things do.

One of the worries I have is that football is called on by Government in lots of initiatives for education and against crime and against obesity, but when we have had this elephant in the room with the John Terry-Anton Ferdinand case, to some extent football has not been able to deal with it, albeit it may be a different level of guilt or innocence because it is more a civil case with the FA than a criminal case. Once it became a criminal case and the FA was told, "Hold your horses until we do this", I have not been comfortable with that because it has been festering over the game. It has infected so many issues and I just wish that football could have got on with that, like the cricket people got on with the issue of the spot betting, albeit there was a criminal case against those players.

I would have felt, if football is being seen to do its job of effectively administering discipline properly-if it is needed by an independent commission-that all sports should be allowed to do that. I do not like this, "The police are dealing with it so will you hold back?" Well, we have held back but it has been put back now beyond the European Championships. When Paul talks about education and also sanctions-it has made our job more difficult in doing that.

Q15 Steve Rotheram: Paul, it has been a great honour to have met you on a number of occasions at Kick It Out and Show Racism the Red Card. I think we have another one next Thursday at Stamford Bridge so I am looking forward to seeing you on that occasion. You spoke about far right groups such as the NF and using football as a vehicle or hijacking it for nefarious activities, and you talk about what happened in the 1980s with singing the songs, but it was not just members of the NF. Back then there were whole sections of football crowds who joined in with those songs that had at least racist undertones within them. It might be worth pointing out that thankfully that can’t happen now, firstly, because I think that other people would self-police within a crowd and stop it, but also it is a criminal offence under the Football Offences Act 1991. So it might just be worth putting that on the record.

We know that the FA has equality policies for the Premier League and that filters down throughout the rest of the divisions, but to what extent is racism ignored where there is little or no media coverage-I am talking about the semi-pro or the amateur football game, both of which I played in-and to what extent should resources be allocated to ensure that racism is not allowed to fester outside of just the Premier League?

Paul Elliott: Firstly, in your previous point, I am wholly accepting of that because obviously that was a first-phase entry point with the BNP. But thereafter they influenced other parties because that is a natural thing-"It is okay for that person to do it"-so they collectively participate, not realising, with their ignorance and lack of awareness, the ramifications. So, on that point I am in agreement with you wholeheartedly.

When I spoke about the 21st-century challenges, I think that is one of the big challenges, particularly at the grass-roots level, because there are issues. I think the whole reporting process is quite intrinsic to that, and the Respect campaign and the National Game Strategy are very important. I think the whole spectator behaviour issue is very important in that space as well, where the pitches are cordoned off, and in particular I think the Respect campaign has grown. It certainly has got considerably better. I think that reporting line is very important, not just at the elite level, so players understand if there are issues you have the support of your club and there is full transparency in the whole reporting process, and obviously that is going to be followed up and maintained and sustained with a view to an eventual outcome. But I think that is an area that you have identified correctly that is very challenging, and certainly from the Kick It Out perspective it is an area that is very important, where they were working very closely with the stakeholders-namely the FA in that particular area as custodians of the game-to try to resolve those matters.

Gordon Taylor: On that point, it is a matter of logging all the reported incidents and how they are dealt with. We are trying to do, even at the professional level, an audit season by season, working with the FA, of all such reported incidents and to try to make sure as well that they have been dealt with satisfactorily. I think it is quite crucial, in answering your question, that we monitor and audit all such complaints and how they are dealt with.

Paul Elliott: The whole follow-through of that, from inception, from the reporting, to the actual outcome is very important-that data. I think as a consequence of that any sanction is applied appropriately with that and, as Gordon says, that is logged because that is important information for monitoring and evaluation. That is one of the big challenges, but again I would like to feel that we are collectively trying to work with those challenges to ensure not only at the elite end-but that it ripples down to all the grassroots areas. But there has been progress, and the most important thing is the sustainability of that and the ongoing investment because, as you rightly say, you didn’t have what you have in the stadiums in terms of the stewarding. If you look at stadiums now, the composition of stadiums, the stewarding, the policing, is far better than it has ever been, and with the quality of the individual supporter now, I think people are realising, "This is unacceptable. We are not prepared to put up with that". There was a recent case I was told-I think it was Chelsea-where Drogba in particular was getting vociferous, vitriolic abuse, and the actual Chelsea supporters grabbed the individual and passed that individual to the stewards and thereafter went to the police. So I think that is a template and a measure of how far we have come. However, what we cannot afford to do-and I always say this when I discuss this-is to be complacent.

Gordon Taylor: There was a point about, even if we could stop it in the 1980s within the stadium, what was the point because it was just going to burst outside the stadium? And there was a point of argument that it might be better getting all the bad behaviour inside stadiums rather than wrecking towns and cities. To some extent that was quite a negative view because we did face it full on and address it, both inside stadiums and in city centres, and it is fair to say I think we had a great deal of success.

But I am also mindful that football works with other bodies, such as the police and the fire service, and a seminar I went to just the other week on progress was about hate crime, and the fact is that it does seem to be increasing. Whether it is part of the worries in the world with the economic crisis-I know you could say, "Oh here we go again", but it is a fact because if people are facing unemployment and facing difficult futures then more extreme views come into being. The National Front hopes to thrive in such situations. We get a blame culture. We have to be very mindful in football and sport, with all our initiatives, that this coming period is going to be a really testing time for a lot of the things that we are bringing in.

Q16 Dr Coffey: Just to finish the politics, I am sure you will be delighted that the BNP collapsed in the elections, so perhaps people have moved on from the 1970s and 1980s. It is a shame the Referees Association could not muster anyone because I was going to ask, how confident are you that the arrangements for reporting racism are robust? The follow-up to that would be, why do some players seem to be reticent about reporting racist abuse?

Gordon Taylor: The big worry for us after the Patrice Evra incident was because-Louise mentioned social media as well, and I have also been subject to that when you come out with an opinion these days. So you dare not have a contrary opinion to anybody else in this world, which is a bit odd for a democracy and civilised society, so-called, because you can get a torrent of abuse. Knowing the abuse I got for speaking up against racism, and Patrice Evra similarly-and then following that of course there was the Tom Adeyemi incident when he was on loan from Norwich to Oldham and played in the Cup, and I was concerned that there would be some action taken but it did not lead to any particular conviction. Do you know what I mean? It is that sort of thing. The lad reported it to the referee. The referee straightaway reported it to the police at the side and action was taken.

These days I see no reason why culprits can’t be identified, because we have closed circuit television. So if a player is going to complain, I feel a real responsibility that that complaint is followed through and followed through successfully. I felt the same over the youngster who made a complaint when he was in tears and it fizzled out. I was disappointed that maybe the levels with regard to a criminal action may be too high, but certainly now-as has been referred to-racial abuse is a crime, and nothing happened with that. If there is going to be such a backlash, it could set back the process of complaining, which is the only way we can monitor how this is going on.

You are quite right: the last thing I want this season, after this season’s incidents, is for black players to not feel comfortable with the process, that if they do make a complaint it won’t be addressed properly.

Q17 Dr Coffey: I am not sure from your answer if you are saying then they are not robust, or the police just simply don’t take it seriously.

Gordon Taylor: I think the police are having to take it more seriously now. I think clubs are having to take it more seriously now. But I also feel-as you will feel as well-there is an element of belief among my younger black players that it is still, "I could make a complaint but-". There is a worry that the Terry-Ferdinand incident hasn’t been dealt with yet; there has been a worry about what happened with the Liverpool reaction. I have a young generation of black footballers who are saying, "Gordon, we shouldn’t have to stand for this any more", and I am feeling a little bit frustrated that we can’t be more effective in that process.

Q18 Dr Coffey: Have you ever had any indication from the Crown Prosecution Service about why they feel it is not appropriate to charge people?

Gordon Taylor: I dealt with the local MP Nigel Evans and Jack Straw with regard to the incident in Liverpool. They kept me informed and then there was an arrest on the Sunday, but all I read was the same as perhaps you have read in the papers: that it wasn’t followed through. Presumably the evidence was not sufficient to make any particular conviction, although I believe the club-I hope-have made an identification, because the club can ban such people from the ground in future, so that is something that football could do. They can make their own judgment, even if the police don’t feel there is enough evidence for a criminal conviction.

Q19 Dr Coffey: I think it was Twitter in that incident, wasn’t it, that led quickly to the identification of the person in the crowd?

Gordon Taylor: I believe so. But in a way I would need the Home Office or your colleagues who link in with the Home Office to find out exactly what happened and why there wasn’t a successful conviction in that case, because it was a concern to us.

Q20 Dr Coffey: Can I ask Mr Elliott, does he think players are reticent to report abuse?

Paul Elliott: The most important thing when there are complaints is the consistency and the continuity. I am agreeing with Gordon on the basis that we have a young generation of players where there have been concerns, and what we have tried to do is to address those concerns. I would like to feel that the independent commission on the Suárez case was a very strong message on the seriousness with which racism is taken. I think a lot of positive lessons have come out of that. It would be inappropriate for me to comment any further on the John Terry thing because there is a process and we have to adhere to that. One just hopes-as I have used the phrase before-no one is above the law. If the appropriate test has been applied and it has been decided, then at that juncture hopefully the sanctions imposed will be the right sanctions.

But I would like to feel now that the measures and the lessons from Suárez will hopefully give more confidence to those to come forward and have the confidence that the custodians of the game are going to see through this process from start to finish. I think that is the most important thing. I am sure they are very mindful of that and I am sure that will continue to happen. So it is not perfect but I think again, compared to what it was, what it is-

Gordon Taylor: If I may, Paul, as well, compared to how it is in other countries.

Paul Elliott: Exactly.

Gordon Taylor: We have a big worry with the European Championship because the response of other European countries when the President of FIFA made his comments was, "Well, so what?" You just feel that, while we are far from perfect, there are a lot countries out there whose record against racism does not really stand up for inspection against ours.

Paul Elliott: Also, you have a true indicator of the progress, I think. If you look back to I think it was 2006 when England played against Spain, and you have only to look at the horrific abuse that our black players received. One or two of them were actually in tears. The point I am establishing here is if you looked at the whole country and the way the whole country was galvanised, saying, "This is utterly unacceptable", for me that was a very true indicator of where we were and where we are in the fight against racism. I think, yes, it is reasonable and I think it is fair to say, when you compare the UK against other countries-you only have to look at areas of Eastern Europe-there are some massive, colossal challenges there.

I can attempt to articulate that and give what I call comparable evidence, but what we can’t allow that to do is to supersede our own challenges and forge complacency on the back of that, because other countries are not investing the way we are, whether it is education at grassroots, Show Racism the Red Card, Kick It Out, the whole game approach, the collective movement against that. What we still have to do, as far as I am concerned, is obviously embrace the 21st-century challenges, and I think that is more visibility on boards, councils, committees and administration. If you look at the game, 25% of the players in the game are black and yet we only have four black managers: Keith Curle, Chris Powell, Chris Hughton, and O’Connor at Wolves. The FA has appointed the first woman on the FA board, Heather Rabbatts, who is a formidable individual. So that is good progress, and obviously-

Dr Coffey: Forgive me, Mr Elliott, other people are going to come on to those topics later.

Paul Elliott: All right. Okay.

Q21 Dr Coffey: Can I try and stick to a couple of things here. In dealing with incidents, it was telling that the FA did impose that significant penalty against Luis Suárez, and it was a member of the public that mentioned the other case, which I appreciate you don’t want to comment upon. If I look more at other parts of the game-I don’t have information, I just happened to find the figures for Norfolk-I think in the 2010-11 season, three out of 600 disciplinary sessions were about racism. But I would put it to you that it seems to be more spectators where the problem is. How do you think we can deal better with reporting spectators? I don’t just mean in the big clubs but in our amateur game as well. Is that a fair assessment-that the bigger problem lies there?

Paul Elliott: I think it is an issue. Obviously I am guided by the way you are proportionalising it, and obviously you have that information to hand

Dr Coffey: Well, I don’t know, that is my-

Paul Elliott: I don’t have that exact information. I can talk from a generic perspective and recognise and concur with your view that that is a very important area, and it is an area that far more resources have to be thrown at because obviously they don’t have the CCTV, they don’t have the policing, they don’t have the stewarding, they don’t have those facilities. So I think it is important that in that area there has to be a confidence. We have to give those parties confidence that if spectators are abusive towards them there is going to be a proper procedural reporting line, and the continuity and the consistency of that is going to be followed through by the Football Association and give confidence to those people that have to report it. If you don’t report it then obviously you are defeating the object. So I think it is very important that that is done and that is attacked with the same vigour, and that process is adhered to and we get the eventual right outcome on the back of that.

Q22 Dr Coffey: Can I ask Mr Taylor, has the PFA ever expelled anyone from your membership due to conviction of racism, and would you do so in the future?

Gordon Taylor: We haven’t expelled anybody. The philosophy or the ethos of the PFA is that we are a family of players. I have had quite a number of our members who have been convicted for various offences, and then we see it as our job not only to admire the virtues of those who have done particularly well on the football field but also to look after those who have gone off the straight and narrow. As a result I have made quite a number of prison visits to our members who have been convicted for various offences, and the first thing we talk about is trying to get them back on the straight road and work on rehabilitation. So that is our philosophy and I don’t think it is such a bad one really.

Q23 Dr Coffey: Has any member of the PFA ever been convicted of racial abuse, to your knowledge? I can understand people have been drink-driving-

Gordon Taylor: Just to try and explain fully as well, we are a trade union of professional players, and it is agreed with the Football Association that we agree the sanctions with the Football Association, with the Premier League and with the Football League, and we often have former members of the PFA sitting in judgment but we are not the governing body and we are not the disciplinary body. There are other sports-such as perhaps tennis, probably golf-where they have a much more disciplinary role. So from their point of view, if a golfer had cheated they would have the choice to throw him out of the Professional Golfers’ Association as well.

The philosophy of the PFA is, we have 3,000 current young men, 50,000 former players, and they are not all going to be saints; we are going to have quite a few sinners. We are all human beings, and if they do go off the straight and narrow then we consider it a big test to get them back on to it. With regard to various of our players who have had problems-be it mentally or be it with drugs, alcohol or the various addictions these days that young men get faced with-I would like to think that we have in play a process of rehabilitation that, although not 100% successful, aims to get at least two out of three back on the straight and narrow.

Q24 Dr Coffey: I would put it to you it would be a powerful message to your young black players who are reticent about reporting racism if the PFA were to say, "We will not represent people who have been convicted of racial abuse".

Gordon Taylor: Yes. I can understand that point and that is an issue that may well be raised now, because what we are looking to do is, rather than just talk about behaviour in general, to put it into the standard player’s contract, for the club or for the player, that if he is found guilty of racist abuse, that is considered gross misconduct and the contract should be terminated. To try and elaborate on that, in the same way, we are trying to encourage some of our black players to become coaches and managers in the future. We are trying to get an equality interview policy that we are working with ACAS on now, rather than have particular positive discrimination-to really focus on the need to be more equitable. I hope that makes it clear what we are trying to do.

Dr Coffey: Thank you.

Chair: I am conscious that we have a second panel and I still have a number of members to ask questions of this one, so if we can speed up a little bit.

Q25 Damian Collins: Just briefly on the role of clubs in dealing with these issues. Do you think, Paul Elliott, that there is a danger that clubs often treat allegations of racist behaviour like any other disciplinary matter? The instinct of the club is to rally around the player and protect them, as they would do in front of another FA disciplinary hearing. Do you think clubs have to be careful with how they deal with these incidents?

Paul Elliott: They have to be mindful, because the situation is their supporters reflect all parts of their local community. Certainly in Liverpool’s case I think that created a fracture, if I am being very honest with you, if you look at the local community, and I still think there are issues there. So those are lessons that have to be learned. Tribalism is an interesting thing in football and what I try to do is sort of rationalise it. While I can understand the employee/employer relationship-I can understand when it is their player and the whole sort of tribalism-you would like to feel come judgment day, like in the Suárez issue, that when there is a clear, consistent, comprehensive judgment by an independent commission, that that was it, that was the end of it, and that had to be acknowledged and accepted. I think that is a good test for other third parties.

If we are to believe the quotes coming out of Liverpool, they actually said that if this case was to happen again they would deal with it a little bit differently. So I think that is a measure of how far we have come and how far the FA has got it right and the strong, clear, decisive messages there. That is my view on that.

Gordon Taylor: I think the point you make is a fair one, and it is something to some extent the managers seem-particularly the more insecure they are, the more they put a strong circle that is sometimes part of a motivational process to have a "them and us" attitude, that "The whole world out there is against us and we must be strong". If you are not careful, that can motivate your players to go over the top, over and above, to be excessive, to win at all costs. In the same way, sometimes it is not easy, because as I mentioned we are all human beings. It is natural to want to put a ring round the caravans if they are being attacked, but on the other hand when one of your members has a problem then you have to deal with it. It is the same if I have a problem within the PFA I can’t ignore it and say, "Never mind"; it has to be addressed. But the managers do feel that, "If we are not careful, we are going to alienate supporters. Unless we do that, I am going to alienate my team. It is going to be harder to get that player if he has been disciplined".

Dealing with the likes of Carlos Tevez at Manchester City, that was a really delicate situation. We had a strong manager with regard to discipline, a player who felt he had been aggrieved, and the next minute both parties are cutting off their nose to spite their face, when it was almost that situation in reverse. In the end he is back at the club and they are better for it. When one of your members feels he is innocent, it is a difficult one, bearing in mind that the FA has to try and replicate what would happen in a court of law. So once a decision was made, I just felt if they weren’t going to appeal and go through that process-it did cause a big problem. Travelling down today, a Liverpool supporter was sat opposite me saying he felt a bit embarrassed; the quiet side of the Liverpool supporters felt embarrassed because they felt they had lost out to the more voluble minority in that particular incident.

Q26 Damian Collins: Could I ask briefly, do you think there should be some sanction against Carlos Tevez for his holding up of the "RIP Fergie" banner at yesterday’s trophy presentation at Manchester?

Gordon Taylor: It is like we mentioned before with the social media. The FA’s disciplinary unit is probably going to have to get bigger and bigger, with more and more monitoring, because never a day goes by now whereby you have situations in football, you have the television, you have the radio-

Q27 Damian Collins: Mr Taylor, sorry to cut in on you. You have been very generous in your answers, but I know there are colleagues who want to come in. But on this point do you think that this is something the FA should look at, and it shouldn’t be enough just for Manchester City to have apologised for his behaviour but there should be some consideration of some sort of sanction against him for that action?

Gordon Taylor: I think it is good that Manchester City have apologised.

Q28 Damian Collins: But beyond that?

Gordon Taylor: I felt it was disrespectful, and I think you can ask the Chairman of the FA that. They are the governing body.

Damian Collins: I have given him a warm up so, yes, he has 10 minutes to think about it now.

Gordon Taylor: It is not my job. It is up to the FA to indict their members, seriously. If I start having an opinion every time one of our members is-"Should he be done or shouldn’t he? Gordon, do you think he should have been done?" I will do it but I am going to be-if you say, "Gordon, the PFA, will you take that role of sanctioning?" then I will do it; otherwise, I think it is an unfair question. If I am not that body, then no matter what I say-if I say, "No, it shouldn’t", that could count against us.

Q29 Damian Collins: If the Football Association said they were going to look at it would you support them doing that?

Gordon Taylor: I think it is the duty of the FA to look at all things to protect the image of the game.

Q30 Damian Collins: But you would not criticise?

Gordon Taylor: What I will say, at a time for Manchester City fans to be celebrating, it was unfortunate that there should be that. They should just be pleased that they have won it and don’t need to reflect on United, who have had a good record and will be feeling bad enough the way they lost it.

Q31 Damian Collins: But you would not speak out against the FA if they did that? You wouldn’t say that was inappropriate?

Gordon Taylor: I would say the FA are entitled to look at that and make a decision on that.

Q32 Damian Collins: Thank you. Just one other final thing I wanted to cover. We have covered quite a bit of ground so far. At the roundtable on racism in football that was held at 10 Downing street earlier in the year, one of the issues that came up was homophobia. I appreciate that is slightly different to what we are talking about, but I want to raise it here. Do you think this is an issue within the game? Do you believe that there are no homosexual footballers playing in professional football in England at the moment?

Paul Elliott: I think it is an issue. I think the most important thing is that you create a forum so that those who wish to come out and say they are gay are going to be protected within the game, and they have the confidence in the authorities, in their football clubs, that if there is going to be any form of homophobic abuse as a consequence of that, sanctions will be applied. I think that is the most important thing. You want the peace of mind of knowing you can go out there and perform, and if you wish to come out and openly demonstrate your sexuality, then you are safe to do that and there is confidence within the football club-and moreover within the game-that you can do that and not have an issue.

Q33 Damian Collins: Do you believe there are players fearful of coming forward for the lack of that protection?

Paul Elliott: Yes, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case. In truth, one can empathise with that as well. I was speaking at a particular forum in the European Parliament and there were two or three agents there that made it abundantly clear that their players were gay, and they actually advised them not to because it would affect their status, their commercial status, which I think is very disappointing. We have made tremendous progress here and we have to create the forum-just like players when they are being abused about the colour of their skin-where they can come out and say, "Hey, I’ve been abused, I'm reporting it. This is the reporting channel. This is what I expect from the custodians of the game. I’m going to be supported verbally, privately, and there is going to be strong and clear, decisive messaging and, where guilty, appropriate sanctions duly applied". I think that is what is needed.

Q34 Damian Collins: I will just ask Gordon, is there a role for the PFA here?

Gordon Taylor: Yes, we have tried. We have had various campaigns and worked with the Football Association as well. Ironically, we did produce a video as well within the gay movement. That was split, because it was really quite extreme about what happens, and one part of them said, "We don’t want that. It is almost like reiterating the abuse they are getting". So it is difficult to get right. To some extent, it is much easier to address racism because it is much more plain to see-when you can clearly see we have black players, Asian players and foreign players. It is no use me saying, "Well, we will try and make it as comfortable as possible for any gay player to come out", and, as has happened in rugby, cricket and other sports, it has never quite caused the problems that the individuals who may be gay would feel it would cause them. They have had situations, of course, in the services, haven’t they? You have had situations in Parliament where sometimes MPs have felt quite threatened if they come out and say they are gay, and then you feel, "Are they going to be open to blackmail?"; it has just got to be so much better to be up-front with it.

It is an issue we want to deal with. I did deal with the likes of Justin Fashanu when he had a manager-no disrespect to Brian Clough-who was certainly old school, and I had no end of discussions with Brian on how he should deal with Justin better than the way he did. It is a bit like when Louise talked about that old banter. With the mental illness issue as well, footballers aren’t allowed to feel bad or even complain that they can’t cope. It is a "pull yourself together" job. It is the same with gay players, they must also be aware of that dressing room and the crowd and what may happen. In a way, when we get a player who comes out-Justin came out later of course-that will be another big challenge like we have had this year. But you can only test yourself by such challenges, and for us trying to do all we can to protect that individual, or those individuals, we shall do our best. It is not that we are not prepared for it, but I don’t think those individuals have the confidence to come out in football.

Paul Elliott: Equally, on the back of that, the objective is to try and create that environment within the football club where players will just say, "Well, listen, I'm not bothered if you’re gay. The same way I'm not bothered about your ethnicity or the colour of your skin. If you’re gay and you’re goal scoring-you’re scoring 25 goals a season-that is all that matters".

Gordon Taylor: Our campaign was "So What?"

Paul Elliott: Yes, exactly. That is a clear, consistent, coherent message that I think we have collectively within the game tried to put out there.

Chair: We still have a couple more questions that we could move to relatively quickly. Steve?

Steve Rotheram: Gerry can include the bit I was going to do in his question. He is that good.

Chair: Co-operation. Gerry Sutcliffe.

Q35 Mr Sutcliffe: Thanks. Can I put on the record, as a former Sports Minister I recognise the progress that football has made. Today’s inquiry is about racism in football but we could be talking about other sports as well. I think the fact is that football, as the national sport, has the role models, or indeed perhaps a lack of role models. That is what I want to come on to, Gordon, in terms of what you are trying to do in the PFA in relation to so few BME coaches and key players in the game. Perhaps you could talk us through the Rooney rule. I thought it was the Wayne Rooney rule but it is not, it is the Dan Rooney rule.

Gordon Taylor: I know to some extent that gives the wrong impression, and we have had the lawyer over from America, Cyrus Mehri, who also worked with other lawyers over there. It would be at the same time as we got our black coaches forum and that would have been in about 2003.

Just quickly if I can-which is never easy for me, as you know-if you are going to interview for a job as an administrator, a chief executive, as well as your coaches, they have to include a black coach. In the beginning it was, "This is voluntary", and then one club abused that voluntary code and said, "Oh, by the way, we’ve made our choice but we’ll ring up", because they provided a list of suitable black candidates and that was a conjunction of the players’ union and the managers and coaches association, and they said, "but we will talk to them". So they fined the club, and after they made that fine from then on the process was adhered to and they found that they had some in their ranks that they didn’t know of. They put their heads above the radar, and they found they had some really quality black coaches, to the extent that a few years later the Super Bowl was contested by two teams that both had black coaches.

So, we felt we should take a leaf from that book and do what we can, particularly as our past chairman was Chris Powell, who I thought was an ideal candidate to go into coaching. I had to work really hard to convince him because he said, "Gordon, look at the record. Look how difficult it is". I am so pleased he has done well because we need that role model like Chris Powell, Chris Hughton. Others who have tried-your Keith Alexanders who have failed, or not failed. No, that is wrong. He didn’t fail. He did brilliantly because he kept going and was a real inspiration at lower levels and deserved better opportunities. We just feel that we hope we can get the Football League at least to try and introduce such a selection policy and then move on to the Premier League. We feel again, in monitoring it, the figures aren’t good and we are not making progress and we need to because, as Paul said, 20% of our membership want to stay in the game. You stay in the game, you are a coach or a manager. We have a new bursary system for young black players in inner-city areas to go to their club and get qualified, like a lot of our community programmes, but it needs to be visually seen.

Q36 Mr Sutcliffe: What are the barriers then? Why is it you are having to do this and why aren’t the clubs and directors-why aren’t we making the progress that we should have made without having to bring in this sort of thing?

Gordon Taylor: All we can do is try and make sure that we have this list of players who have the UEFA A Licence, the Pro Licence-that they have all the qualifications. Why are we having to do it? I suppose in the same way that we have had to work against racism until the youngsters who were joining realised it didn’t relate to what we were talking about, and <?oasys [pc10p0] ?>maybe we will get there. It has happened in other sports and I have to believe it will happen in football. It is not happening at the moment, but I just hope the likes of Chris Powell-we have David with us today from the FA, and I have said for the FA’s job as well whenever they can.

Paul has mentioned Hope Powell being used. It is about using black coaches and using them in a way that is very visible, and nothing can be more visible than the national team, and to see the presence there in some form or another just to encourage black players to take up the coaching.

Paul Elliott: Yes. One of the disappointments for me in that space has been that we have lost a generation of potentially outstanding black players who subsequently did not get those opportunities to go into management. Certainly I have had discussions with my own generation and, first and foremost, the most important things that we say is that they need to be qualified. But a lot of them get disfranchised because they are thinking, "Well, what is the point of getting qualified because we’re not going to get jobs?" They are first and foremost thinking about the access to the opportunities, which I think is very important. Another reasonable comment that has been made concerns an open and transparent recruitment process for black and white players. So I think these issues are very important. That would enable qualified coaches to give them the chance that they need.

So when I spoke about the challenges, they are big challenges but I see optimism in two ways in particular. One is the good work that the PFA are doing, in particular Paul Davis in terms of the capacity build underneath, which is very important, and Brendon Batson and his bursary scheme, in conjunction with the stakeholders who have invested in that, to award young coaches bursaries. But at the end of it they are going to want jobs and I think the transparency of the process is very important to try and get those opportunities.

Q37 Mr Sutcliffe: Just finally on that, are the League Managers Association on board with what you are trying to do?

Gordon Taylor: Yes, I believe they are. It will be essential to have them on board, keep them on board and for them to be very positive about it, because it would need us to work with the League Managers Association to have that list of appropriate candidates. With St George’s Park being set up, we have an office there and we are going to use that office to try and monitor such movements, Gerry.

Chair: I think we do need to move on to the next session.

Philip Davies: May I just quickly. I just want to test-

Chair: You have 30 seconds.

Q38 Philip Davies: Okay. I want to rain on this spirit of consensus, because what I genuinely don’t understand is that somebody who is committed to stamping out racism-that we should not be interested in the colour of anybody’s skin; that should be irrelevant; we should be colour blind in all of these things-thinks that it is right that people should be put on a shortlist simply because of the colour of their skin. Does that not defeat the object of trying to stamp out racism? By doing that do you not think that you can build up a resentment, actually making people more racist by saying, "Well, they’ve only got there because of the colour of their skin"? Is that kind of approach not counterproductive?

Paul Elliott: But you are addressing underrepresentation as well, aren’t you? I think what is important here is if you have consistency-

Gordon Taylor: I think it is the same as what you did with females, really, with your own House of Commons, isn’t it, with regard to the selection of candidates?

Paul Elliott: But my point is that if you have a clear, open and transparent process then there is no need for that.

Q39 Philip Davies: On underrepresentation, though, the figures from Kicking it Out are that between 20% to 30% of players in the game are black. The ethnic minority population in the UK is about 8%. So would you argue, therefore, that there is a huge underrepresentation of white people playing football and that there should be measures taken to get more white people playing professional football? That is the logic of your position-

Paul Elliott: No, it is not. What I am saying is 25% of the players in the game are black but there are only four black managers. Now, that is gross underrepresentation, so the steps and measures we are trying to get is to try to address that. Unless you have clear access to opportunities in an open and transparent recruitment process, then that does not happen. You must make it relative to those who are participating, not to the population.

Chair: Your 30 seconds is up.

Q40 Philip Davies: Just one last question, which is, can you give us any examples of people who have applied to be coaches or managers who have been turned down because of racism?

Gordon Taylor: That is the whole point.

Paul Elliott: Can I say to you, the point is, how can you make that statement on the basis that the majority of them don’t even get interviewed? That is the point. They don’t even get interviews. That is what I am saying. They do not get to the interview table. There isn’t a process because nine out of 10 jobs are actually gone before the manager even gets sacked.

Q41 Philip Davies: So the chairman is happy to recruit black players but not black managers and coaches?

Gordon Taylor: Again, you say "happy". You say, "Will a club say they have not picked him because he is black?" Of course they won’t say that because that would be a criminal act to say that.

Paul Elliott: That is against the law, isn’t it? They are not going to say that, are they?

Gordon Taylor: It is against the law. All we are saying is how important it is. It is only like a school doing your exam results and seeing how good at school you are, hopefully, compared to where you were and where you are. It is the same with our black players who become coaches: "Which of you have ended up in good-quality coaching jobs and which of you haven’t?" At the moment there is an imbalance.

Paul Elliott: What we are trying to say here is called, in my parlance, equality of opportunity, so I, you or anybody else-

Gordon Taylor: It is not the selecting, it is only the interviewing.

Chair: Can I thank both of you very much.

Examination of Witnesses

Witnesses: David Bernstein, Chairman, Football Association, Sue Law, Head of Equality, Football Association, Lord Ouseley, Kick It Out, and Raj Chandarana, Football Supporters' Federation, gave evidence.

Q42 Chair: If I could welcome our second panel this morning: David Bernstein, Chairman of the FA, and Sue Law from the FA, Lord Ouseley from Kick Out Racism, and Raj Chandarana of the Football Supporters’ Federation. Damian Collins is going to start.

Damian Collins: I will ask David Bernstein, do you think you should take action against Carlos Tevez for his action yesterday in holding up the "RIP Fergie" banner at the trophy presentation?

David Bernstein: Can I say, as Chairman of the FA it is very difficult for me to answer that. I am extremely careful not to put pressure on our independent people who look after the regulatory side of the game. It can be very tempting sometimes to want to do that, but I don’t. I stay well clear. I would rather not give you a personal view. Let me say, it looked to me rather silly more than anything else, an impetuous silly thing to do. Clearly, it wasn’t very sensible, but I would rather not say more than that because it will be looked at properly by the people who make those decisions, and from whom I try and stay well clear.

Q43 Damian Collins: So that panel will be looking at this?

David Bernstein: I am sure they will look at it, yes. It is a high-profile incident and I am sure they will look at it, yes.

Q44 Damian Collins: The reason I think it is relevant to this panel-not because it is topical-is that if, say, that had happened after Wolves were relegated and that banner had said "RIP Terry Connor", would that have been grounds for the FA to consider whether it was not just inappropriate but even potentially racially inflammatory?

David Bernstein: It could be. Personally, this incident seems to me to be rather more silly than anything else. Again, I don’t want to say too much. It is something that our people will look at. I would rather not be put in the position where I am giving a view and putting pressure on them.

Q45 Damian Collins: There is a question of, not just are these things silly but is it appropriate behaviour? Does it suggest that footballers can behave in public in a way in which-in a very high-profile way-in other areas of society people wouldn’t tolerate or, if you did it in your work environment, action would be taken against you?

David Bernstein: I think it was a very excitable moment, emotions were running very high. As I understand it-and I stand to be corrected-I think a fan passed this thing to Tevez who just sort of put it in the air. So I don’t think it is, personally, the most serious thing I have ever come across, but again I don’t know all the facts and I would rather leave it to the people who will look at it very carefully and professionally.

Q46 Damian Collins: I appreciate it has been a very happy weekend for you.

David Bernstein: It was a very happy week.

Damian Collins: I don’t want to rain on Manchester City’s parade.

David Bernstein: Thank you.

Damian Collins: I wanted to ask briefly about John Terry. I applaud, as I think many people did, the action the FA took in deciding to remove the England captaincy from John Terry. Do you think with hindsight that decision should have been taken when he was initially charged with the offence, rather than waiting until it was clear that he would not go to court until after the European Championships?

David Bernstein: No, we did not think that was necessary. We felt there was no point in making a premature decision and that, on the basis we believed the trial was going to take place before the Euros, the thing would be settled one way or the other, and there was little point in just making a point and doing something prematurely. I think we got it spot on.

Q47 Damian Collins: For you it was only when it became clear that he potentially would go to the European Championships with this lot hanging over him that you felt you had to act?

David Bernstein: Absolutely. Yes.

Q48 Damian Collins: Was there unanimity among your board in making that decision?

David Bernstein: Yes.

Q49 Damian Collins: As far as you are concerned, he is available for selection should the management-

David Bernstein: Definitely. Absolutely; it is up to the manager now, yes.

Q50 Damian Collins: I asked the previous panel whether they felt there was an issue with clubs treating issues of racial abuse almost like any other disciplinary matter. In the Suárez case in particular, which Gordon Taylor and Paul Elliott emphasised in their answers, the club just rallied around the player without possibly pausing for reflection and considering the evidence. Do you think clubs should be doing more to be more sensitive in the way they handle these issues and the way they deal with players within the club as well?

David Bernstein: Without referring to any particular incidents, in general I agree absolutely with what Gordon Taylor said earlier, that clubs do tend to act like large families. They do tend to rally round and support each other. They do tend to draw the wagons around. This sort of, "They all hate us" type of thing, "and that makes us stronger" is something that is prevalent among many if not most clubs. So I think that is the actual situation. Should clubs be more introspective? Yes, I think they should attempt to be, most certainly. But having chaired a club and knowing what it is like, it is quite difficult. There is a strong temptation to do everything one can to get a winning situation, a winning team, and that includes supporting your colleagues almost right or wrong. So it is a cultural thing, but I agree with you, I think it does need looking at.

Q51 Damian Collins: Clubs over the last decade or so have done things to stamp out other cultural practices that they were unhappy with, particularly, say, the use of alcohol by players in full training. Do you think there should be more pressure on clubs to control what goes on within their own family, if you like?

David Bernstein: Yes, I do.

Q52 Damian Collins: Do you think there should ultimately be a sanction, a penalty that you could impose on a club if you felt that they had allowed a culture to develop that was unhealthy or they had failed to take an incident seriously?

David Bernstein: That is very difficult. You mean the FA, as opposed to the leagues?

Damian Collins: Yes.

David Bernstein: That question could be aimed at the leagues and not just the FA.

Damian Collins: Yes.

David Bernstein: I think that is very dangerous territory. I am not sure that I would go along with that. I think an area that is interesting is the contractual situation between players and their clubs and at what stage a player is in breach of contract. We have one incident that is arising at the moment, and it will be interesting to see what the club does. Again, not talking about specifics, but players are well protected by their contracts, and possibly sometimes over-protected, in my view. Of course, if a club feels that by breaking a contract it could be involved in millions of pounds of settlement, it is a big disincentive. But the whole question of the nature of the contract and when a breach has arisen is a very interesting one that I hope will be tested some time in the future.

Q53 Damian Collins: I have no further questions for David Bernstein, but could I ask Lord Ouseley if he would like to comment on the role of clubs in handling these issues as they arise?

Lord Ouseley: The complication is really that the clubs have very expensive assets in players and they are reluctant to take disciplinary action from the outset. An allegation is made that a player has conducted himself in a way that is unacceptable, and the clubs do not apply proper procedures, as in other employment situations. They rely on the Football Association as a regulatory body to deal with the discipline. They don’t impose, as normal employers, their rights and responsibility to say to those players, "You have breached a code of conduct in this club". That is really where the problem is, because if clubs had a proper employer/employee relationship-as in all other employment situations-they would take action the moment a complaint has been made that a player has misbehaved in a certain way. They would determine whether that person was in breach, as in an act of misconduct or gross misconduct, and take action. They may be suspended straight away by the club themselves, but it is this conflict of the duality of your own responsibility as an employer-but also there is a regulatory body that can take action against you. I think we have to have a situation where clubs recognise their responsibility, both in protecting their players from abuse or other forms of misconduct, but also taking action against those players when they are in breach of contracts.

Q54 Damian Collins: Because you have raised it, who do you think that regulatory authority should be?

Lord Ouseley: The regulatory authority is the Football Association and that is the case, but I think as an employer you have responsibilities. Players should know what is required of them and, if they breach that, what the consequences are, and football clubs are employers. The relationship breaks down with footballers as expensive commodities. Other employees-an administrator, a secretary or some other form of employee-are subject to those proper processes, but as a footballer that is where it becomes difficult for a club and that is why they tend to back away and not take the action that they should take.

David Bernstein: If we are talking about the top end of the Premier League-and, clearly, part of the reason we are here today is because of incidents at the top end of the Premier League-and a club has paid tens of millions for a player and a player is on £5 million a year salary over four years, the implications of financial penalties between the player and the club are absolutely enormous: I mean tens and tens of millions of pounds. So I come back to what I said before: I think the whole contractual employment issue between clubs and players is a very interesting one, very important in this context.

Q55 Steve Rotheram: Can I ask this question in two parts and allow the panel to answer the first part first. How effectively do panel members believe that education and diversity training is provided by the clubs and the FA? If you do believe that it is effective, how do you measure the effectiveness?

David Bernstein: Can I ask Sue to deal with that one?

Sue Law: Thank you. The training that has been put in place so far has obviously been, either through the equality standards that Kick It Out-Herman can talk about it a bit more-is implementing within the clubs, and that is on a voluntary basis by the clubs. That is looking at policies and practice; it is looking at education; it is looking at representation and increasing diversity across the whole programme. Embedded within that is an implicit need for education, and alongside the PFA-particularly in the leagues-there has been training delivered to scholars, and the PFA and the leagues, with the LMA, are looking at training programmes for senior players and also for others within the club.

The FA is working as well, particularly with the Football League, on wider education programmes across the clubs, and the Premier League is looking to next season on the wider education as well. Within that, I can confidently say the issues that have arisen, the matters we are talking about around social media and codes of conduct around social media, around the way that players understand or do not understand-but to address that issue: who has the powers to do what? There has been real confusion, and I think it has been fair to say that has been shown through the incidents this year, about which authorities have the powers to do what and what responsibilities, as Herman says, the club has, what the FA can do and will, the responsibilities of the PFA in representing players, and how difficult that is for them when it is two of their members. So we are looking at all of those issues and clarifying them for players and managers and across the club alike.

There is a programme that has been implemented. As you know, we have been working with No. 10 as well, and in our response from football to No. 10 education will be a key thing that we roll out through the next few seasons.

But we are not building on nothing. We have worked with the referees around their responsibilities for implementing the laws of the game, and particularly law 12, on field. We have also worked with coaches and the coach educators through the FA, to make sure coach educators recognise their responsibility as new coaches come through our systems. If people breach our rules and regulations as coach educators, or as referees, we also sanction in that respect as well.

Lord Ouseley: Could I say that I think the equality and diversity training is varied across the whole spectrum of football. At one level there is the educational aspect of making people much more aware of diversity issues, and making people more comfortable about being able to relate to people from different backgrounds, and that is fairly straightforward. Because there has been no quality assurance of training, it is very difficult to say how effective it has been. But the conditions for effective training require those who have the greatest influence and the power and the leadership in an organisation to express themselves as being committed to that within the context of a club’s policies and, if it is a club organising the training for its staff, including players, why it is important that they should have that understanding.

The understanding would relate to the codes of conduct for a club as well as issues that the club would expect their staff to be aware of, so discharging that responsibility. It is also showing the benefit of the training, because most people will sit through training and say, "Well, I’ve got to do this because I’ve been told to come here and do it and I’ve done it and I can tick that box and that’s it, but I'm not interested and it doesn’t mean anything to me". So you have to show, firstly, it is a responsibility to make you aware, and once we have made you aware you can’t use that as an excuse to say, "I don’t know", which we often hear as an excuse, "We don’t know. We didn’t know that. We didn’t know that calling someone a something isn’t actually acceptable". Then, secondly, it is demonstrating the benefits to the club, the benefits to the individuals and the benefits to the industry you are in, football. So unless you have those characteristics, clearly it won’t have the effectiveness that it should, but in overall terms it is very hard to say it is effective. The effectiveness comes from the consequences you otherwise will have without that training.

Raj Chandarana: If I could just add to what Herman has said. I think going on from the relevance of training and leadership at the top, if you are training a bunch of young players about diversity and then you look at your football club and you look at the leadership of your football club, it is a bunch of white, middle-aged men sitting around a boardroom. If you look at the directors’ box and all the people who are associated with the club, and they are all white people, and then you look at what you are being taught, what you are being taught about the community, about the rights and wrongs, what is acceptable forms of behaviour and what is not, you would probably question the sincerity of the training. As Herman says, it is a tick-box exercise. You are going and doing a bit of this. There are no outcomes resulting from that, and there is really no training at the leadership level.

What sort of training do managers get? What do they want? What do they need? What about directors? What about chief executives of football clubs? The whole ethos of a club is determined by the leadership, the leadership given by the chief executive and senior management team, by the chairman and the owners, and by the management and the coaching staff. That is where you get leadership, and that is where you get proper understanding of how training is actually relevant, how important it is and what relevance it has to their daily lives. If you are in a room talking about the do’s and don’ts of acceptable behaviour, and what racism is about and diverse communities, and then you look around you and it is not happening at the leadership level then, yes, it is something that doesn’t necessarily sink in.

Q56 Steve Rotheram: Thanks for that. You did mention the equality procedures, but how do you ensure that it is embedded in the culture of football clubs? As it is voluntary and not prescriptive, there will be some people who opt out of that and don’t do that. There is also the confusion of responsibilities, which I would like to pick up on again, which is important. But the Football Supporters’ Federation implies that much of the diversity training is limited to academy footballers, in the evidence that they have presented to us. So I would like to know how widespread the training is, and how can we ensure that players-and all players, including those from overseas-understand that it is not acceptable to use certain language in the British game?

Sue Law: It is fair to say, and I think Gordon touched on it in his presentation, that obviously that is one of the things that surfaced through the season. There is a need to look at those induction programmes for players coming into this country, understanding the legislation, understanding the regulations, and for the club then to demonstrate leadership around their codes of conduct and expected standards of behaviour as well.

What I was alluding to earlier is, through the programme of training that we are putting together across the professional game, and for the grass-roots game, going forwards, those issues will be covered and I believe they will be mandatory. There will be programmes put together by the leagues with the PFA. The PFA is working on those programmes at the moment. The LMA have come forward with looking at embedding within their programmes training for their members as well because that is an area that does not currently exist. Within that, we would like to ensure the messages are very clear around the roles and responsibilities at the different levels, and the processes. So, for playing members they are very clear what will happen if they are called as a witness-if there is an allegation made, what will actually happen-because those are the things that we have learned through this process that we need to make very clear.

For instance, Kick It Out received hundreds of calls from people expecting them to be the regulatory body, to be able to put in place the sanctions, and there are football authorities that actually fund Kick It Out. That is something that we need to address with Kick It Out and make it very clear what Kick It Out’s role is in enabling those complaints, but actually it is the football authorities through the clubs and leagues, the Football Association particularly, that have to take those sanctions forwards.

One of the key things we are doing for next season-as result of, actually prior to, the incidents happening-is, we brought together our advisory groups, that is the FA advisory groups on race, disability, homophobia, transphobia and so on, and we brought that group together because they are an informed group. Herman was with us that day and colleagues presented the regulations and exact procedures that are followed, and they were perceived as very robust by people in the room from Stonewall, from the Community Security Trust, from Kick It Out and so on. So we know that the procedures are robust, and if you look at, you will see, sadly, through Twitter that we are almost charging every day at the moment in terms of taking action-that our sanctions are being doubled and trebled where there are aggravating factors. But what we need to do and what is clear is we need to go out across football, in the grass roots and the professional game, and make sure people know what those reporting procedures are. We are producing a film at the moment with key people, presenting, in lay people’s terms, "What are those procedures? How can I report? What do I expect will happen?" and so on, so that everybody is-

Q57 Steve Rotheram: But with respect, it is not just about the procedures, because I did say that you have the procedures and I think the procedures, as they are, are very good. It is about quality-assuring the effectiveness of the procedures. What is that next step?

Sue Law: Absolutely. I would like to think that at the moment those things are being evidenced on a weekly basis with the FA and the charges and the commission outcomes that are happening. What we can do-and I think again, Gordon alluded to it, and I think Herman did as well-our measures have to be around the number of complaints, the efficiency of those complaints being dealt with at club level. You will see in the No. 10 interim response that we have talked about that from a professional game perspective and a grass-roots perspective: that we need to look at the statistics and analyse the statistics that are coming through and make sure that the reporting is effective so that then we can measure that year on year or season on season and make sure that we have some forms of measures. At the moment, we don’t have those in any effective way to be able to look at that. That has to be a way of quality-assuring, talking to fans groups and making sure that we have those dialogues. We are equality partners, in that there is that dialogue about us as a game, as a sport, moving forward with all sectors: managers, players, the Football Association, the leagues, the fans groups, the equality organisations, working together collaboratively, as Paul kept saying, to make sure that we are taking strides forwards.

Q58 Steve Rotheram: The reason behind the question is that it is exactly not what was suggested before-just a tick-box exercise. It can’t be allowed to be that. Clubs will give you the evidence that they have gone through the process. Unless you quality-assure that people have understood and taken on board and that is embedded within the football clubs, this is a vicious circle and these sort of things will raise their ugly heads again.

Sue Law: Yes, we recognise that.

Q59 Mr Sutcliffe: We have concentrated this morning on the professional game and the high level, but there are suggestions that the problems go deeper into the semi-professional game and the grass roots that you have just been talking about, Sue. It is clear you have the policies, but who is responsible for getting right down into the county FAs or whoever to make sure these things are working?

Sue Law: That responsibility sits with the FA, and particularly the National Game Board. There are a number of things that we have been doing through the National Game Strategy. We have been looking both at anti-discrimination measures and also inclusion measures. The Equality Standards, not particularly the ones that Kick It Out work on within the professional game, although built on the same model, are a requirement by Sport England for the funding that we receive through the Whole Sport Plan for football, as you all know. That is a key area for us, building on and ensuring that the policies are in place in county FAs. The National Game Board have decreed that by 2015 all of the county FAs will have achieved the foundation level of the standard.

Now, what we have done in addition to that is look at those county FAs that are based in the most diverse communities and said, "With these 10 county FAs, we should be achieving the preliminary level". We had also had within those county FAs, for the last two or three seasons, local race or equality advisory groups that have been engaging with the AME representatives from the community involved in football to look at how we can move forward and get greater representation. One of the challenges, I think, is that there is a lack of confidence that county FAs will deal with these issues when you look at who is meeting and hearing the disciplinary hearings. So we are attacking that in a couple of ways. Again, the National Game Board has said that those 10 counties will implement the recommendations of an independent review that we had done, which will mean that those race equality and equality advisory groups will co-opt members on to councils at county level and on to relevant committees, including disciplinary commissions and hearings. The regulations for the FA have enabled counties to co-opt members on to those commissions.

Separate to that, because we, obviously, as the FA, have oversight of what the county FA does, we can rehear cases where there are concerns about how they have been handled. In addition, counties are voluntarily coming forward at the moment where they want advice and guidance on their case handling. We have run training for disciplinary chairmen and women who hear those commissions. There is an annual conference with those chairs and equality, and particularly race equality, is on that agenda every year, and we have another agenda in July where we will be raising those issues.

Underlying that, we have to go back to the piece on confidence in reporting and education across the grass-roots game, which as you know is an immense task-but going back to the film I talked about earlier, making sure that we make that available to everybody across the piece so that they understand what the reporting processes are. I know they are robust, but we need to make sure people know how to use them and what they would expect when a case is brought, because unfortunately bad news travels fast and people can lose confidence in those processes. The processes are getting more effective. John Mann did a review for us and highlighted some areas. We have implemented some of those recommendations and it is an ongoing piece of work for us in terms of education and raising awareness.

Q60 Mr Sutcliffe: I acknowledge that, Sue, and I think great work is being done. But David, in terms of the structure of the FA and the county structure and all that, are you meeting resistance or are you getting this message across? How do you see it from your perspective as Chair?

David Bernstein: I think at the very top of the FA, as you know, we have brought in independent directors now. We have independent directors on the FA board, one being a woman, and we have two independent directors on the Wembley Stadium board and we do have a female chief executive at St George’s Park as well, so the profile within the top end of the FA is changing.

I think generally at the Professional Game Board level and National Game Board level there is a great deal of acceptance for the need for this, and people are extremely receptive. There may be a certain amount of resistance further down, but that is being dealt with in the way that Sue has described. I am confident that right across the executive of the FA and the FA board, NGB and PGB, that people are very onside with this now.

Q61 Mr Sutcliffe: Moving on to the fans, in evidence that you have given us you talk about some football clubs having been able to attract a more diverse fan base and you have good evidence of that. Can you give us examples of where you think that has happened?

Raj Chandarana: Speaking personally for my own football club, Crystal Palace, it has a pretty white crowd at the moment, and one of the things that the new owners decided two years ago when they came on board was that one of the reasons why the club has had two administrations, apart from poor management by owners, is the fact that the club isn’t representative. It is not getting people into the club from the local community. The local community around Selhurst Park is representative. It has about 50% to 60%, in the wards around there, BME communities, particularly Asian and African-Caribbean communities, and so what it has tried to do is go out to local churches and mosques and do some outreach work there with players. Particularly when a player gets injured, one of their key tasks during their recovery is to spend a lot of time in the community and engage with schools, colleges, mosques, churches, youth groups, those sorts of things. The other thing that the club has done is to invite people into the stadium to watch a game and get different community groups to do that, to experience what it is like to be a part of the whole environment of the football club.

It has also worked with organisations like the Zesh Rehman Foundation to give the message to communities around the area in Croydon that they do really care about the community. It also sends players to community events, fairs, those sorts of things, so that they once again become part of the community. We have seen that in other communities as well up and down the country, particularly in the Championship. I think there are some really good examples. In areas like the Championship, where you don’t sell out week in, week out, if you happen to have a group of people who are passionate about football but are not coming through your stadium, then there is a clear business case to get people in, and that is what good clubs are doing. It is showing that you care about your local community, that you are investing in it as an employer and as a provider of entertainment.

Q62 Dr Coffey: About dealing with incidents, how confident do you think stewards should be feeling in reporting racist chanting on terraces? Can I ask Raj about that first, because often supporters are the stewards?

Raj Chandarana: Yes. I don’t think that stewards on the whole are confident about what their role is. We have had some very good examples, not around racism but more recently around homophobia, and how stewards do or don’t understand how to tackle homophobic chanting and homophobic abuse. One club in particular in the Championship, Brighton and Hove Albion, their fans and players are subjected to horrendous amounts of chanting around homophobia and the stewards do not know how to react.

A classic example of the knowledge and the training for stewards is that when I talked to the senior steward at my club about homophobia and racism and how stewards act, he did not even know that Kick It Out campaigns on homophobic issues as well as racism issues. We were talking about how they were going to do some new signs saying, "We are not going to tolerate racism in the ground", which is great. I said, "Well, have you thought about adding homophobia as well, because that is another issue that Kick It Out are advising you to get the message out on?", and he didn’t even realise that it was relevant. So I think training is a very important area not just for head stewards, but permeating down, because most stewards are basically fans that wear a tabard, get a little bit of basic training and then are expected to deal with all sorts of situations. While they might have general issues around crowd control, getting people to sit down when they are standing and those sorts of things, on the whole-unless you happen to be a Leeds steward, but that is another story altogether-I don’t think they get properly trained. I do not think that enough investment is put into training stewards, in the same way that in years gone by security personnel at venues were just given a uniform and went and got on with things. Now, you have the CIA training and you have proper accreditation of-

Dr Coffey: What does CIA mean?

Raj Chandarana: Sorry, SIA, which is the security industry training.

Q63 Damian Collins: Just some clarification, did you say "league" or "Leeds" steward earlier on?

Raj Chandarana: Leeds.

Q64 Damian Collins: Leeds. That is a different story altogether, you said?

Raj Chandarana: Yes, stewarding in Leeds is well known to be appalling. There have been horrendous numbers of complaints by fans, visiting supporters and home supporters of the appalling way in which stewarding takes place in Leeds. There are complaints against the police and the local authority about that on a regular basis, but I don’t think that is relevant necessarily to-

Q65 Dr Coffey: To do with racism or generally?

Raj Chandarana: Generally, which is why I do not think it is relevant for today, but I am quite happy to give evidence on another day on that. But no, the bottom line is that stewards are not trained. They do not know how to handle it. I do not generally believe that if somebody went-

Q66 Dr Coffey: So what would you do about it? Is it the club? Is it the police?

Raj Chandarana: The club is the employer. The club is responsible for its ground and for ensuring that it is a safe environment for players and fans and their employees, and so I think that the responsibility of training stewards rests with the club.

Q67 Dr Coffey: So Mr Bernstein, after our football governance report we recommended licensing. Is there anything you would like to suggest about how this could be part of licensing?

David Bernstein: There is a new training module out for stewards, which is being taken around the country. May I say, I do not altogether agree with the comments made? I think some stewarding in some grounds is very good. Granted, I do not sit in the terraces as much as I used to but in the last few years, at the London grounds I have been to quite a bit, I have taken great interest in the subject and noticed that when some very abusive people were around-and some terrible abuse takes place-nevertheless, they seemed to quieten down considerably after a match or two. I can only think that they had been dealt with. In fact, I am sure they had been dealt with by stewards. Some of the stewarding I have seen has been quite good. I think it must vary greatly from ground to ground. I am not the world’s expert on that.

Lord Ouseley: Could I add on that?

Dr Coffey: Sure.

Lord Ouseley: There is variation. Let us take the application of the Equality Standard. Although it is primarily applicable to Premier League clubs because it is sponsored by the Premier League, every professional club can apply to be accredited through the process of compliance, and there are considerable variations. Crystal Palace is one of the clubs that you were quoting from-your own club-that are not part of the standard. They have not addressed these issues. So if you have a club that is not taking the issue seriously, it is failing in its obligations to steward properly and provide the level of understanding about the responsibilities of each steward, and how, even where they are under-manned-and under-womaned, if that is the right word-they can call upon others for support in any part of the ground where there may be a situation.

Just along the road from Crystal Palace, you have the completely different situation of Millwall, who are anxious to raise their standards all the time, and they come from a background where they had probably one of the worst reputations of behaviour at clubs. They have moved considerably and I can tell you, if you go to Millwall, they could tell you at any time where there is trouble bubbling up and where they are going to remove people from the ground at certain times, when it won’t cause any notice. By half time, many people who have been misbehaving have been removed by stewards and other security people and they get banning orders from the club, even if there are not going to be prosecutions. So it does vary from club to club and those who recognise that this is an important aspect of improving the quality of the experience of going to football do take stewarding seriously and do apply comprehensive training, so that if you went to some club and said, "Do you know what the range of responsibilities are?", they would be able to say, "Yes". It is very unfortunate that that experience at Crystal Palace isn’t the correct one.

David Bernstein: You did ask the question about licensing. Just touching on that, the contents of the licences is still to be determined and there is a lot of work going into that now, but I do agree with you that this area we are talking about should be taken account of within club licensing.

Q68 Dr Coffey: Do you know how many disciplinary processes relating to racism were processed through FA procedures at county level and differing levels in the last year? If you do not, could you write to us with it?

Sue Law: We could look into it. I can honestly say at the moment we don’t have as accurate statistics as we would like, and I think I alluded to that earlier in saying "going forwards". The reason for that is that we think the way that some counties have dealt with different aspects of discrimination is that they might have been put under "misconduct" or slightly different charges, so it quite difficult for us to get a picture. We are doing a piece of education in all the counties to see if we can make sure that that is consistent, so that we can rely on those, but we could look at that.

Q69 Dr Coffey: Going further, are you aware of how many people have been banned from grounds as a result of racial actions?

Sue Law: What we do have is obviously the Home Office statistics for season 2010-11: 43 arrests. What we do know is Kick It Out dealt with 83 or so complaints during 2011, and what we know obviously is what we dealt with at the FA in terms of through our own disciplinary systems. Between ourselves and the professional game, looking at both county FAs and clubs in the leagues, that is an area we know we want to tighten up on going forwards, making sure that we can be more confident and robust around the existing statistics.

Dr Coffey: I wonder, Mr Chairman, if we could write to the Premier League and Football League to find out how many people have been banned. I think that would inform our inquiry.

Chair: I am sure we could.

Q70 Dr Coffey: The FA can use a range of sanctions in a case of discriminatory behaviour. How effective do you think you have been at that, Ms Law?

Sue Law: Obviously, a high-profile incident that we have been able to deal with at this stage speaks for itself. A lot of the incidents that are coming to our attention at the moment are around the social media side of things. I think I said earlier that if you look on, you will see that there are charges being brought on a weekly basis in relation to misconduct, with aggravating factors in reference to racial origin, sexual orientation, sexism and gender. So there is a range of issues being brought to our attention, and those matters are being dealt with very robustly and consistently by the commissions that are dealing with them.

Q71 Dr Coffey: So again, if you go more though into county level, would you be seeing somebody being "done" for one thing and then you are not seeing a repeat behaviour? That is what I am trying to get at, because I would expect-

Sue Law: I would not be able to answer that accurately today.

Q72 Dr Coffey: Okay. In terms of your international relationships, we have already been discussing a little bit earlier about Ukraine, the Euro Championships and concerns. I am trying to remember the team now in Spain where there was a closed stadium as a consequence of it. Was it Atlético Madrid or Bilbao? I have forgotten now. What kind of a role is the FA playing internationally in trying to kick racism out of football?

David Bernstein: Well, as far as the forthcoming Poland and Ukraine Championships are concerned, I had a meeting with Michel Platini a few weeks ago and I raised the subject with him. UEFA are taking the whole potential position there very seriously. They have given referees increased powers to deal with issues that arise during the course of matches. I think for the first time referees will have enhanced powers to deal with situations should they arise, and hopefully they will not. For our part, we are working on all sorts of contingency plans, both for possible issues within or outside the stadia. There are all sorts of things that could happen in Poland and Ukraine. We sincerely hope they don’t, but we are preparing very carefully for any eventualities.

Q73 Dr Coffey: Some other people might delve into that aspect. My final question may seem a bit trivial. One of the chants often used at referees happens to refer to the colour of their shirt, but it ends up becoming, "You black bastard". Has the FA ever considered changing the colour of referees’ kit away from black to try and remove that excuse for a chant?

David Bernstein: That is not something that is on my personal radar. Sue, you have been there longer than I have-

Q74 Dr Coffey: The Premier League doesn’t use black kit for its referees in other competitions, so how about the FA making a start so you can’t justify the chant?

Sue Law: We will take that away and talk to our referees.

David Bernstein: Thank you for the suggestion.

Q75 Louise Mensch: Just to start off, in the interest of fairness, since my colleague, Damian Collins, has said quite a bit about Carlos Tevez and the "RIP Fergie" incident, I do think it is perhaps worth noting that social media is reporting that apparently Mr Ferguson said that City would never beat Man U in his lifetime and that the placard was a jokey reference to that. So I think, just in the interests of fairness, since it has been raised in Parliament-it makes sense to me, anyway, but I am not the authority.

That said, I want to start with Ms Law. We need to keep these as brief as possible. You have talked a lot about the compliance measures that are put forward. I think we are all agreed that those are all necessary, valuable and worth while, but what we want to see is a culture shift, and in particular in terms of social media and the abuse that goes on there, we need to see leadership, do we not, from players and supporters’ clubs? I was very disappointed during the Ched Evans scandal on social media, when the victim of rape was being named, not to see footballers who use Twitter coming forward saying, "This is unacceptable". I do not know if prominent members of the supporters’ club came forward and said, "This is unacceptable and these people do not speak for football supporters. They do not speak for Sheffield United supporters, they do not represent the Blades. They do not represent anything of what we are about". As well as being reactive in the FA in terms of, as you have said, looking at complaints based on homophobic abuse, sexist abuse and racist abuse, do you not also need to be proactive and persuade your players, leaders and managers to get out on social media, give a lead, give a comment and say, "This isn’t acceptable"? That is the way that you change the culture. Ultimately, people use footballers as role models and is it not a fact that they need to be more vocal online in countering this stuff?

Sue Law: It is a fair point in terms of the opportunity that those role models have to make positive comments and to address those cultural issues. I think we are starting in the first instance, because for many players the social media are still very new forums for them, hence perhaps some of them falling into pitfalls and saying things that they wouldn’t necessarily say in other forums. So in the first instance, the professional game working with the LMA, the FA are putting in place a code of conduct around the use of social media. I think we have to start there and make sure that, as much as possible, there is an education and a framework around the way that players, managers and everybody uses that.

The second point you make about them taking that on into another level I think is very valid, but we have to get that basis right first and then, through the education, see-and we do see it. There are players who do step up at times and tweet very positively about things, but I think the whole area that you are referring to is one that needs further addressing.

Q76 Louise Mensch: The footballing world was shamed by its silence when that young lady was being traduced, and it really was a case of supporters, managers, leaders and footballers being totally silent. The complaints that were made to the police-and I printed off some of those tweets and sent them to North Wales police myself-were made by women’s groups, by groups who speak out against rape. They were the ones doing the leadership. I suppose as a follow-up question, as part of your diversity training, when you are talking about what is not acceptable on social media-and clearly, another player from Sheffield United posted and deleted something attacking the victim, and that is a disciplinary matter-should not your training include elements saying, "Just as we expect you to take a leadership role within your communities and be role models within your communities, we expect you to speak up on these issues and speak out on these issues"? Unless footballers take a lead, supporters and others will not believe it, will not buy it, as Mr Chandarana has said. They are not going to buy it.

Lord Ouseley: Can I just say before Sue finishes answering, there is a real big issue here about the culture of the dressing room that no one can penetrate, where the manager and the coaches and the players own that culture, and that is where you have to penetrate to bring this about. I can’t speak for Sheffield United, I know nothing about the club as such, but that is where the leadership should come once again in terms of what the club should be saying. They should be giving a lead. What happens in that dressing room and how players behave and whether they respond and speak out against a colleague or speak up in favour is very much a part of that culture, and it is so impenetrable, because it is behind closed doors, and I think that is really where if we are going to make progress here-you are right, players need to be encouraged to speak out, but they need to be able to challenge that culture and break it. I can tell you, I know from the black players who talk to us at Kick It Out, there are certain things you do not do, you do not criticise, you do not challenge, because you are going to be out of the door, unless you are obviously a highly expensive player that they will not treat that way.

Q77 Louise Mensch: We also have to be human. I would not necessarily expect players to come forward and criticise a colleague. That is very difficult to do on a human level. What I would expect is players from that club, but also from other clubs in general, to get up and say, "It is not acceptable to name a rape victim. It is a criminal offence. Don’t do it. We are better than this". A few tweets from a few footballers, and indeed the FA, would have gone a long way, I think, to stopping that most recent and most appalling situation. Women have felt completely devalued. The chants against David Beckham, for example, about Victoria Beckham, again, are totally unacceptable, and it takes-I want to say a big man, but it takes a certain amount of leadership, proactive leadership, to make a cultural shift and get up and say, "We don’t support this. They don’t speak for us".

Raj Chandarana: If I can come in there, Louise, I think you are absolutely right. All too often the tendency is for football clubs and the footballing world-when someone says something in a tweet that is inappropriate, the reaction of management is, "Ban Twitter, ban social media" when in fact the solution should be use social media in a far more positive way, because so many young, impressionable fans follow their favourite football clubs and individual players and take a lead from what they tweet. I think that what should happen in clubs and what the FA should lead on is a proper standard of what you should be doing in terms of tweeting, but the leaders in football, the England captain and top players, should take a lead in giving out social messages. A lot of retired players do a lot of good work in tweeting when something is wrong in the game. When someone does something stupid, they do tweet and people follow them. I think that players ought to be given some support and training so that they can realise how positive tweeting can be in terms of sharing influence and getting messages out to people.

Q78 Louise Mensch: Absolutely. I believe that a part of the diversity training should be, "Please take a lead in combating these things when you speak. Please be a role model. Please stand up against racism, homophobia. Please encourage gay players to come out, and tell them that they are respected and valued". It is a problem across sport, but particularly in football, but I also must say I do believe there is a role for supporters’ associations to lead on that too. It was, after all, "self-defined supporters"-and I don’t think that they are, truly-of Sheffield United who were leading this charge, and it would have been very helpful for other supporters to come out and say, "You guys don’t speak for us. You guys don’t represent the club". That would have been, I think, helpful and useful.

Moving on, we were speaking about stewards and the role they play in reporting racial and other forms of abuse. Do you believe that technology is being fully utilised? If we can move on from social media for a second, you could supply people with hand-held cameras to make ready identification; microphones could be fitted to stewards-all these things in order to be able to pin down people who racially abuse. In the last panel, there wasn’t time for me to come up for a follow-up question but I was interested in the responses given to my colleague, Dr Coffey, about the Crown Prosecution Service choosing not to prosecute in a situation where ostensibly, somebody had been very clearly identified as perpetrating racial abuse. There is, I think, a question about the CPS and whether or not it is fully committed to having uniform standards of prosecution in terms of racial abuse. One way to get around an excuse-and I believe it is an excuse-that there isn’t sufficient evidence might be to fit stewards with cameras and microphones as standard so that they can record racial abuse while it is happening; then there really would not be any question about evidence. What do you think about that as a way forward for tackling this problem?

Sue Law: I think all the points that you make have been consolidated into a good practice guide by the FA and its stakeholders called Crowd Management Measures. There are also things that John Mann brought to our attention through the Anti-semitism and Islamophobia Report. The guidance is there and has been disseminated to the clubs, particularly the use of hand-held and head-held cams, because we need to capture not only the lips moving but the actual sound as well, if we can, achieving the best evidence for both the club and then the police and the Crown Prosecution Service. So we have consolidated that.

We are aware that going forwards this season, what we need to do through the professional game and its partners is make sure that we share the best practice-going back to I think partly what Herman said earlier-and the benefits of doing this, making sure that we do implement. There has been a call to name and shame people who have banning orders. John’s report called for that, but you will notice from what Herman said earlier that the stewards, because of managing the safety of the crowd per se, do pick people off very quietly on the whole. They do not wade in and pull out people going, "You are racist. You are out". They will pick them off as they go out at half time or as they are going to the toilet. They will do that very quietly and they will be removed. So people don’t generally see the actions that are taking place in football, and we do not tend to publicise it, but there is a lot of action taking place.

So I think, coming back to your point, we need to move forwards and share the best practice across the clubs. Some of that is coming through the Kick It Out Equality Standards, and some of that the professional game is pulling together itself and then promoting across clubs, along with the benefits of dealing swiftly with these issues, because once it has gone past the game, the incident, it is very difficult to get the evidence. It becomes a written exercise of a complaint via the text messaging service or a letter or a phone call, and you really do need to capture that evidence at the time.

Q79 Louise Mensch: That is right. So if you had this additional technology available to capture evidence, there are two benefits. First of all, successful prosecutions and consistent prosecutions for racial and other abuse-I should just say, as we haven’t mentioned it yet, it is important to talk about Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in football as well as sectarian abuse; Tottenham Hotspur, for example, often suffer anti-Semitic abuse. As well as providing successful prosecutions, the knowledge across football and among supporters that stewards are now equipped with devices to capture racial and other abuse is surely going to be a deterrent. You have to look at the deterrent side of things. If people know that they are likely to be recorded or filmed and that that will be handed by clubs to the CPS, that is going to make them far less likely to choose to offend, is it not?

David Bernstein: I support everything you said. I think most or all of it has been taken account of already. I think from my experience at Wembley Stadium, I am very conscious of how careful one has to be in dealing with large crowds and sometimes a subtle approach is needed in terms of stewarding with games that have crowds of 20,000 or 30,000 people in one stand.

Louise Mensch: Absolutely.

David Bernstein: But you have this issue with standing in football grounds. If 10 people are standing, you can deal with it. If 10,000 people are standing, it is a very different problem.

Q80 Louise Mensch: Yes, but if people know that they are being filmed without you having to wade into a crowd and risk a riot, you already have a deterrent effect.

David Bernstein: No, absolutely.

Louise Mensch: If they do commit the offence, you have a prosecutable offence, so I would urge you to look at introducing that throughout the game at all levels. It might be the simplest and easiest way of cutting through some of the abuse that goes on.

David Bernstein: Absolutely.

Q81 Chair: I just had a couple of questions. Firstly, David, you will be aware this Committee has spent a lot of time on football governance and we are still in discussion with you about some reforms.

David Bernstein: Yes.

Chair: We have talked a bit about why there aren’t more black managers and coaches, as opposed to players, but looking right up the structure of the game, this Committee also looked at the FA Council, which we felt was badly in need of reform, and I think you recognised that.

David Bernstein: Yes.

Chair: Do you see an opportunity there perhaps to have more black representatives on the FA Council?

David Bernstein: I think there is clearly an opportunity. There are so few, but it is something that needs to emanate from below, because by the very nature of the council, the people serving on the council are coming from counties and organisations that sort of build up to the apex of a pyramid, and we need more black and other minority people across the board. In my year or more with the FA, I have taken a great interest in all of this area, but particularly in some of the Muslim and Asian issues, because obviously we all are totally aware of the social tensions and so on and the good that football can do in those communities.

In my various tours around the country, I am doing everything I can to encourage counties and youth clubs-whatever-to try and embrace their Asian communities. You find if you go to Saturday morning football, where there are hundreds of young people playing football, in an area where there is a huge Muslim community, you get one or two Asian people playing. There is a huge need to embrace. We recently had the Muslim Women’s Sports Award at Wembley Stadium, which I attended, and that was very inspiring to see again the role model. A lot of these things keep coming back to role models and breaking a vicious circle-creating a virtuous circle out of the need for more people at the grass roots. If we get that happening, then we will get more over a period of time and you will get more on the FA Council and hopefully on the FA board as well in the course of time. But I think the key thing is getting much wider numbers of people coming in and gravitating through the bottom of that pyramid.

Q82 Chair: You will have heard the robust discussion that took place in the last session about the Rooney rule and whether or not that might be applicable in this country. Does the FA have a view on that?

David Bernstein: Yes, I do have a view on that. We had a meeting with the NFL on this very subject, which Gordon Taylor was at. I am not sure you were there, Herman, but Gordon Taylor was there. The advice that came through is that the Rooney rule is extremely sensible and makes a great deal of sense, but you have to have a wide enough population of qualified coaches to choose from, to pick from, and we do not have that in this country at the moment. So the advice from the NFL was, "Get your black and other minority coaches qualified to create the population that you can choose from, and then the Rooney rule could well be effected". But I would certainly be in favour of it, given those conditions.

Q83 Dr Coffey: Can I quickly ask then, you already have a bursary scheme to encourage BME people, so effectively subsidising that cost.

David Bernstein: Yes, we do.

Q84 Dr Coffey: St George’s Park is opening later this year. How successful has that bursary scheme been and what are your ambitions, say in five years’ time?

David Bernstein: I think the bursary has only just been introduced. It is really too early to judge its success at this stage.

Q85 Dr Coffey: Okay. So what is your ambition in five years’ time and how will you use St George’s Park to drive that?

David Bernstein: Well, clearly I can’t give you any numbers, but our ambition is to move this whole issue forward. The bursary is a very commendable project, but it is limited in its numbers and the financial contributions being made are quite small, unfortunately. I would like to see more being put into this by all elements of football. So it is quite a modest-

Lord Ouseley: If I could say something about the coaching aspect. I think it is crucial for the future of how we see the game growing, with greater involvement at the higher levels. It links to your first question, as well, about how we encourage more people to come through at the bottom end of football and to become volunteers, because essentially the council members are the ones who stay at night writing the minutes of the meeting, conducting local disciplinary procedures. People don’t really want that. They don’t want to be out there organising and running things, so that will take longer. But the Football Association and indeed the clubs have to recognise that if they do not open up opportunities, then those black footballers who become ex-footballers and have aspirations to stay in the game will not stay in the game.

That has not changed considerably, so you will never build that mass that is quite important to see progression, and that is largely because a lot of black players-and they still express these views today-still don’t feel that it is worth getting a qualification because they are not going to get anywhere. What we are trying to do, certainly through Kick It Out but I know across the game, is to encourage people to become qualified, even if it is at the lower levels rather than the aspiration to get to the top. Yes, everyone would like to be the England manager or managing the champions of England, Manchester City, or whoever, but the reality is there are limited numbers. So it is how we open up those opportunities, but the processes are not there. Managerial and coaching decisions are made without a process. A manager chooses his team. There are no open advertisements. The manager of England on his first day made a decision to appoint someone. There is no process, and people say, "Well, what is the point, because that is how it is done?" How do we open up opportunities, make opportunities accessible? It isn’t just about saying, "Well, we will add a black person on to a shortlist". If it is going to make no difference, what is the point? It is about getting people to be aspirational, and at the moment there isn’t hope. Hope will only come if people believe, "I will have an opportunity. I may not succeed this time, but the FA and the other areas where coaching appointments are made are making them accessible". At the moment, they are not accessible, and that is why enough people are not coming forward and saying, "We want to be coaches", because at the end of the day they just don’t think they are going to get where they want to get to.

Q86 Chair: That leads me on to my final question, which I think probably is most appropriate for you. You are heading up the most important, leading campaigning organisation. We have heard from everybody that there is a commitment there to do what we can to stamp out racism, but is there any specific change that you think needs to happen that has not happened, or that is being resisted, that would really make a difference?

Lord Ouseley: I think the point I made just now is a very significant one. You really have to give hope because what comes back to us-

Chair: But how? What specific measure will give hope?

Lord Ouseley: It is the fundamental point that Raj made about leadership. The leadership that David Bernstein is giving in the FA is encouraging people to believe that the FA is moving in a direction that will make people feel the FA is a body worthy of going to. You are going to the FA to complain because you believe the FA will do something about it. Equally, the same situation applies at clubs-where a club is taking a lead and giving that leadership. In the way that Louise said, where are the exemplars, those who are prepared to speak out regarding people who are doing things that are not appropriate? Where we are making progress is where that leadership exists, and that leadership has to come from the boardroom and from the senior management, as Raj said quite eloquently early on, because if that gives a lead, people believe that is what is going to happen because they know that is where the power is. That happens in every institution, not just in football but in every institution across all sectors of life.

If people believe passionately that that is what the people who run this organisation want, and the benefits are for us as individuals and indeed for the business that we are in-in this business, football-then we are committed to it and we can see the progress coming through. That is more than anything what we have to do. A lot of our campaigning work is in the grass roots; it is working with the next generation, as Paul said earlier, and making sure that the next generation comes through as better players, as better people who are playing or watching or supporting the game. But if those who give leadership, who are making decisions all the time and have the power, are not taking these issues seriously-it works its way and trickles down throughout the whole club, the whole organisation and the whole game.

That, fundamentally, is what we need.

David Bernstein: I support that absolutely.

Chair: In that case, I thank all four of you very much.

Prepared 18th September 2012