Thursday 21 September 2017

Tough racism stance needed - Ramsey

Chris Ramsey says the people who prevented a black man from boarding a Paris Metro train are not true fans of football
Chris Ramsey says the people who prevented a black man from boarding a Paris Metro train are not true fans of football

QPR boss Chris Ramsey has called on football authorities to maintain a hard-line stance against racism and weed out offenders.

Ramsey's recent appointment made him the only black manager in the Barclays Premier League and, having experienced racism personally during his playing career, he has clear views on the subject.

The issue is back in the public eye after a black commuter was prevented from boarding a train at Paris' Richelieu-Drouot Metro station on Tuesday by what appeared to be a group of travelling Chelsea fans.

In recent years Chelsea captain John Terry and former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez have been suspended for using racist language, while Wigan owner Dave Whelan was banned for six weeks for comments made about race in November.

Filmed footage from Paris contained audible chants of "We're racist and that's the way we like it" and Ramsey now wants the sport's powerbrokers to step up the fight against prejudice.

"It would be good to know what the authorities are going to do to weed these people out and what sanctions they will enforce to make this an avoidable situation in the future," he said.

"Had it not been caught on camera.... It was probably something that was going on before. We can't look at it as a single situation - they were just caught at that time.

"It is a reminder that it is still there. I'm sure there are people trying their best to make sure it stays out of the public eye - there are people with these views and we need to keep them away from the game.

"Sometimes you can't control what people do in their personal lives. As much as it is something that has happened in football, these are really social issues that manifest themselves in the real world."

Ramsey touched briefly on his own experiences but was keen not to divert focus from current event.

"I started in 1978, so take from that what you may," he said.

"Things were very, very different and through the '80s, '90s and up to now. Racism is not something that gets eradicated - it gets shuffled about and hidden in places you wouldn't believe.

"I have suffered from it. I don't want to go into the details. I don't want it to be about me. I want to focus on what happened in that situation in Paris so everyone shines a spotlight on that and that it doesn't happen again."

Chelsea have pledged to ban any fans implicated, while the victim in the incident - named by French newspaper Le Parisien as French-Mauritian Souleymane S - wants them to serve custodial sentences.

Ramsey, meanwhile, has some sympathy for the Blues as a club.

"I don't believe that they are Chelsea fans," he said. "I wouldn't be blaming Chelsea Football Club for that.

"Chelsea is a massive club and do good things in the community and I feel sorry that they have been tarnished with this brush."

West Brom boss Tony Pulis believes Great Britain is an overwhelmingly tolerant society and does not want the behaviour of "idiots" to obscure that.

"I think 99 per cent of people in this country are absolutely brilliant. We are a very tolerant nation," he said.

"I have dealt in football for a very long time and I haven't seen racism to a point where I have been disgusted with it.

"The problem is we don't talk about the good stuff - we are just flagging up all the negative stuff all the time. But you have to be careful and make sure you keep a lid on the small minority of the idiots who might take it a little bit further.

"There is no difference of colour, creed - this country is a wonderful multi-racial country. As a citizen of the British Isles, I think we have got a lot to be proud of. The problem is we never talk about it."

Swansea boss Garry Monk backed Chelsea's reaction to events in France, indicating his club would react similarly in the circumstances.

"What I read from Chelsea and the statement they put out was quite right," said Monk.

"They've got to verify whether they are true Chelsea supporters or members but Swansea would have the same stance on that.

"You can't tolerate that behaviour, it's not welcome in football or even in society and I think Swansea would take a similar stance to what Chelsea did if it happened here."

Press Association

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport