FA planning to be 'tough'
Blatter discusses issues of racism in football
Last Updated: July 31, 2012 9:04pm
David Bernstein: The FA has this week charged Rio Ferdinand
The Football Association is planning to continue its attempt for a tough crackdown on any occurrences of inappropriate behaviour, chairman David Bernstein has warned.
Bernstein was speaking at Wembley at a gathering of invited guests from both the sport's global governing body FIFA and anti-racism body Kick it Out, aimed at ending all forms of discrimination in the game.
His comments came barely 24 hours after the FA had charged Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand over his apparent endorsement of the term "choc-ice" on Twitter, and as his former England central defensive partner, John Terry, prepares to contest a charge of using insulting language to Ferdinand's brother, Anton.
"We must continue to be tough as a regulatory body on sanctioning and disciplining inappropriate behaviour," he said. "Wherever possible we must bring incidents of discriminatory abuse to charge and all participants must know the consequences of their actions.
"This goes for the Twittersphere as much as on the pitch, in the stands and in the recruitment processes across football."
There have already been plenty of instances of players getting into trouble for comments made on Twitter.
At the present Olympic tournament, Switzerland have sent home Michel Morganella for a racist posting on Twitter, a sanction FIFA president Sepp Blatter backed without reservation.
However, the Ferdinand case would be the most high profile and Kick it Out chairman Lord Ouseley expressed surprise at the charge being brought.
"I am surprised. I didn't think he was the initiator - but there has to be consistency," he said. "If the FA have been charging other people for tweeting and consider a rule has been breached, they are under an obligation to invoke procedures if that is appropriate."
It also extended the time from when Terry was initially alleged to have made his remarks to Anton Ferdinand until total resolution to beyond nine months, a situation Ouseley feels has damaged the game.
"Ideally these things should be resolved within hours," he said. "There has been a lot of damage done and the police intervention didn't help at all because one investigation should not stop the other."
Terry, who strenuously denies racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, has also been left free to play in England's friendly with Italy in Berne on 15th August, plus any subsequent internationals until the FA has concluded its case, just as the Chelsea skipper was allowed to play at Euro 2012 pending his trial.
Ouseley does not believe that is the correct procedure.
"Representing your country is an honour. You are representing your values and the respect that goes with it," he said.
"If those things are threatened by allegations, there is a need (for cases) to be investigated and concluded first before you can enjoy that honour."
Lord Ouseley was speaking at the side of FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who infuriated anti-racism campaigners last year when he said on-pitch disputes should be dealt with by a handshake.
Ouseley was angered at the time, and admits he is still not entirely happy with the comments, although he did make peace with Blatter in a telephone call that ended with today's gathering.
"I thought he was on a different planet," he said. "I initiated contact. I told him what he said did not help at all."
Yet Blatter was stung by claims he was a racist - "it hurt me to my heart" he said in his address prior to Great Britain women's encounter with Brazil.
And Blatter confirmed FIFA would not hesitate to confirm a worldwide ban on any player should that domestic association ask for its own suspension, whilst reiterating a long-held belief that the police should not get involved in such footballing matters.
"I don't know why the police intervened (in the Terry case) but cases of non-discipline in football should be solved in the football organisation and not the court," he said.