Crowd Abuse May Deter Racism Complaints says PFA Chief
February 6, 2012
The recent crowd abuse suffered by Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand could put off footballers from complaining about racial discrimination according to PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor.
Manchester United defender Evra was jeered by Liverpool fans last week after an independent inquiry ruled he had previously been racially abused by the Anfield club’s Luis Suarez.
And Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, said: “The big thing is with the likes of Patrice Evra – he has become a victim because he has made a complaint.”
Evra’s team-mate Rio Ferdinand was also a target for some sections of the home support.
Ferdinand is the brother of QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, whom it is alleged was racially abused by Chelsea captain John Terry last October. Terry, who denies the charge, is due to stand trial over the matter in July.
“The last thing we want is black players to feel there is no point making a complaint because they will then suffer a backlash. It is like that with a lot of other issues on equality, like homophobia,” Taylor added.
“There is a fear that anyone who comes out and makes a complaint will receive this backlash and puts off anyone else. People have got to be strong and believe what they are doing is right and stand up against racism.”
Taylor is saddened that after many years of strong campaigning to eradicate racism from the British game, the matter has resurfaced this season. However, he believes there is one crucial difference from the 1970s and 1980s.
“There is an element of abuse now coming into crowds and it is not always easy to control that,” he said. “There has been a backward step of late. But people are saying it is a return to the bad old days and I don’t believe that. In the bad old days there would not have been the level of discussion that there is now.
“There are some excellent campaigns and I don’t want people to think all the progress we have made in the last two decades has been wiped out. I don’t want any black players to feel that has all been for nothing.”