Saturday 19 January 2019

Premier League calls for an end to ‘unacceptable’ discrimination

Incidents have been prominent over the last week.

Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling was the target for abuse from Chelsea fans (Martin Rickett/PA)
Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling was the target for abuse from Chelsea fans (Martin Rickett/PA)

By Press Association Sport staff

The Premier League has urged fans to support their teams “in passionate, positive and respectful ways”.

At the conclusion of a week in which Chelsea have criticised their own supporters for singing anti-Semitic chants and suspended four individuals after Raheem Sterling claimed he was racially abused at Stamford Bridge, the topic of discrimination is again high  on the agenda.

“Some brilliant football has been played this Premier League season and the vast majority of fans have generated exciting and passionate atmospheres in stadiums,” the Premier League said in a statement.

“However, there have been incidents recently where a very small minority have behaved unacceptably.

“As we head into the festive season, with matches coming thick and fast, we ask all supporters to get behind their teams in passionate, positive and respectful ways. Support for a club should never include excessive aggression or discrimination towards the opposition.”

Cardiff manager Neil Warnock believes there should be government involvement in an attempt to stamp out football’s racial hatred.

“I’d love to see the government appoint a mobile unit to go to certain games and sort them out,” Warnock said, during his press conference ahead of Saturday’s Premier League game against Watford.

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Cardiff boss Neil Warnock has called for government support to deal with discrimination at games (Dave Thompson/PA)

“Stewards aren’t really cut out to go into a pack of grown men and eject them from the ground. It needs the law to do that.”

Warnock continued: “These people are so vitriolic, and that’s gone back since I was in my 20s.

“But I think Raheem handled it really well.”

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Brighton boss Chris Hughton wants change at top levels of football (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Brighton’s Chris Hughton, who turned 60 this week, is alongside Nuno Espirito Santo of Wolves as one of the Premier League’s only two black managers, and it is in positions at the very top of the sport where he feels change is most needed.

“I’ve always thought and spoken about inclusion in our game, and that means management at the top level, board level,” Hughton said.

“If I’m looking at The FA and Premier League it’s that type of inclusion in the top roles. I’ve spoken about what I feel is the lack of black managers at the highest level, as such. What’s good for our game is total inclusion – and I think is what everybody wants to see.

“The only thing that can be done by all clubs is what all clubs do. Credit to all clubs – if there are incidences anywhere, the clubs are very quickly on that, and that’s banning supporters deemed to have made racial comments.”

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Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo thinks racism and discrimination is a society-wide problem (Nick Potts/PA)

Wolves boss Nuno insists it is everyone’s responsibility, not just in sport, to eradicate racism.

“It’s something not only in sport, it’s a social problem,” the Portuguese said. “I think it’s everybody’s responsibly, as individual members of society, that we should treat everyone the same. There’s no difference.

“Being a society problem, it’s not only the media, it’s everyone. It’s not understandable, it’s everyone’s responsibility to eradicate it.”

Former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri praised his old club for their stance.

“I think Chelsea made the right statement,” said the Italian, now in charge at Fulham.

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Claudio Ranieri praised his former club (Barrington Coombs/PA)

“This thing is not for football, it’s not for life. But there is a very little crowd who will say this and it’s important altogether to help make the right message to everybody.”

Everton manager Marco Silva has called for mutual respect.

He said: “For me, you have to be all involved in this situation and to respect our opponents, to respect ourselves and to look to the football to enjoy, like a party.

“Because it is a fantastic sport, all of us love this sport and it is important to respect all of the people, not just on the pitch, around the pitch and the supporters as well.”

Press Association

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