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FA hit back at ´racist´ claims

FA chairman David Bernstein has slammed comments from the Society of Black Lawyers accusing it of sweeping racism issues under the carpet.

The SBL have criticised both Chelsea and the FA for not reporting findings regarding alleged racial slurs made by referee Mark Clattenburg towards John Obi Mikel.

Following the police investigation being dropped ‘because no victims had come forward’, the society’s chief, Peter Herbert, told the BBC of his belief that a ‘cover-up’ was apparent.

Herbert went on to express his anger at the FA for not passing the Blues’ complaint onto the Metropolitan Police, while he said the body ‘does not have the tools to investigate race-hate crime’.

“It would appear that there is a cosy little agreement between Chelsea FC and the FA not to report these matters to the Metropolitan Police but to have them dealt with solely by the FA,” Herbert said.

“The FA have a dreadful record of indifference on hate crime generally; failing to challenge anti-Semitism at Tottenham Hotspur and at other grounds; eventually finding John Terry made a racist remark but remarkably found him not to be a ‘racist’; whilst the derisory penalty of a four- or eight-match ban (Luis Suárez) is believed to be a suitable punishment for what in any other industry would be summary dismissal for gross misconduct.”

However, the FA have reiterated their own commitment to combating racism in football, while they believe the verbal attacks from the SBL are both untrue and damaging to the larger fight against the issue.

“These ill-informed and unhelpful remarks are at odds with the progressive and responsible approach being followed by the game with the support of Government to deal with these serious issues,” Bernstein said.

Chelsea have indicated that they informed the FA as they believed them to be the appropriate body to deal with the case.

Their decision on whether to charge Clattenburg, who has been suspended from refereeing during the ongoing investigation, is expected by the end of the week.

Wed 14 November, 2012
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