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Dec 11, 2012

EPL blasted for soft stance on racism

Kick It Out chairman Lord Herman Ouseley accused the football authorities, Chelsea and Liverpool of a failure of "morality and leadership" over their handling of alleged racist incidents involving John Terry and Luis Suarez.

Lord Ouseley said Chelsea and Liverpool protected their players because they were "assets," even when they were alleged, and then proven, to have racially abused opponents.

"There is very little morality in football among the top clubs," Ouseley told The Guardian.

"Leadership is so important; you have to send a powerful message that racism is completely unacceptable. But there is a moral vacuum," he said.

Ouseley blasted English football's authorities for not making disapproving statements after Suarez and Terry were found guilty, but added: "The condemnations have been mealy-mouthed.

"We want all players and fans to feel confident about reporting abuse. But the FA did not say anything about the lies and distortions which came out in John Terry's and Ashley Cole's evidence. Instead the players are protected.

Ouseley also criticized the Premier League for inaction as well as Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish and then-Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas for supporting their players while their cases were being played out.

"We were observing the process but the managers were speaking out and sticking up for Luis Suarez and John Terry," Ouseley added. "The FA were very slack and weak."

Players and managers coming to England from overseas will have "cultural lessons" to make them aware of rules on discrimination under proposals to tackle racism.

The move is part of a response by football's authorities to the British government's call for tougher action to tackle discrimination.

Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor said that the proposals included all players and managers having lessons on cultural awareness, including those newly arrived from abroad.

It follows two high-profile incidents of racist abuse last season.

Suarez was banned for eight matches for racially abusing Patrice Evra. The Liverpool striker admitted calling the Manchester United defender 'negrito' but claimed that was acceptable in his native Uruguay.

Chelsea's Terry was banned for four matches for racially abusing QPR's Anton Ferdinand.

"Up until now we have had cultural awareness courses for our apprentices and the plan now is to extend these to senior players and coaches, including those coming from overseas," Taylor told Press Association Sport.

Taylor said the PFA were also in favor of contracts for players and managers having clauses warning that discriminatory language and behavior was considered "serious gross misconduct."

The document containing the proposals is part of a joint response to the government from the FA, the PFA, the Premier League and Football League, but still needs to be signed off by the FA board.

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