PFA issues statement admitting it has been a damaging time for football
Last Updated: October 19, 2012 5:43pm
Disgraceful scenes marred the end of England U21s' game in Serbia
The Professional Footballers' Association has released a statement expressing its concern after a period when the game has found itself beset by negative headlines.
The players' union believes steps have been taken in Britain to tackle racism over the past couple of decades but stresses it is important to remain vigilant following recent events.
John Terry has been banned for four matches and fined £220,000 after an independent Football Association panel found him guilty of racially abusing QPR's Anton Ferdinand last October, while there were disgraceful scenes at the end of England Under 21s' game in Serbia on Tuesday when Danny Rose was taunted.
"In view of recent events, the PFA would like to express our concerns and feelings on what has been a damaging time in which football as a whole has found itself under the spotlight for all the wrong reasons," read the PFA statement.
"We would have strongly welcomed an apology from John Terry a lot earlier in the process, and one with a significantly wider scope. We believe this would have gone a long way towards a more discernible healing process, and begun the process of reconciliation. We have approached the FA directly to deal with such incidents in a more timely fashion in the future, to avoid the undoubted damage and fall out caused by an inordinate delay in the process.
"The affair has highlighted our need to be ever-vigilant about the serious issue of Racism in football, and our determination to lead the fight in eradicating it from the game. We recognise that there is still work to be done in this country and recent events in our own game mean that we can never be complacent in this regard.
"However it would be remiss of us not to recognise a lot of the good work that has been undertaken in this country over the last 20 years, which has made these cases, disappointing as they are, more isolated than they once were.
"To that effect we were dismayed to see the incident in Serbia this week involving our members in the Under 21 game. We feel that our efforts in this country have not been mirrored in certain countries, and we wait with concerned interest for UEFA to impose a fitting sanction, and send a strong message that this level of abuse and physical attack will not be tolerated. We would remind UEFA about the strong line taken by CAF after similar incidents at the weekend game between Senegal and Ivory Coast, and we would urge them to react with similar haste and sanction."
The statement continued: "Closer to home, we hardly need reminding that it was as a result of such serious incidents, that English clubs were banned from all European competitions back in 1985 which had the effect of football in this country making determined efforts to eradicate Racism and hooliganism from the game. The latter aim has all but succeeded, and as previously stated, we remain as committed as ever to the former. One positive aspect from the Serbian game was how all our players both black and white stood together in the face of such extreme provocation.
"The strength of our organisation has always been in its unity and the involvement of ALL former and current players in supporting our anti-racism initiatives. Now is the time for us to reinforce our support for all such initiatives both in this country and abroad."