Players to attend discrimination course
The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) is to hold mandatory guidance sessions on racist and homophobic language for players in England.
Every senior footballer in the Premier League, Championship, League One and League Two will be told to attend 'The Senior Player Programme on Diversity and Equality', which lasts 45 minutes and has been developed in conjunction with the Football Association.
The course follows two high-profile incidents during the 2011-12 season, with both Liverpool forward Luis Suarez and Chelsea defender John Terry receiving FA suspensions after being deemed guilty of racial abuse.
It will attempt to educate attendees as to acceptable conduct on nine discriminatory subjects, including disability and religion, and encourage the proper reporting of abuse that oversteps the mark.
The programme will also highlight a change in player contracts that will permit clubs to dismiss those found guilty of discriminatory abuse on the grounds of gross misconduct.
PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor sent a letter to explain the course to each of the Premier League and Football League’s 92 managers, which read: “The programme has been put in place to tie in with the increased sanctions around discrimination which will take effect from the start of the new season, [and] will reinforce the importance of equality and diversity issues, particularly in relation to the use of language and to prevent players falling foul of regulations and incurring bans and undue media attention.
“We are looking to arrange this session in the near future and would appreciate you ensuring players attend as a matter of priority.”
An information pack addressed to managers added: “We want to encourage the players to make reports if they are a victim of racist or other discriminatory abuse, and to encourage team-mates to come forward as witnesses if they also hear something.
“It is important that you as managers have information about the reporting process so that you can support players to make complaints after an incident. We are told players do not want to approach their managers about some such incidents in case they are told to ignore it.”
Information from the Press Association was used in this report.