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Dec 20, 2012

Bernstein: FA has teeth in anti-racism fight

Football Association chairman David Bernstein says a zero tolerance approach will be taken to discrimination in the game in the wake of the organisation announcing on Thursday plans to tackle the issue.

After12 months in which a number of unpleasant incidents have plagued football at home and abroad, the FA is keen to clean up the sport and has submitted to proposals to the UK government that promise tighter controls.

"The over-riding message remains that there is simply no place for any form of discrimination in football," FA chief Bernstein said. "There remain challenges ahead in this area and all of football would agree we need to find more ways of developing more black and ethnic minority coaches and creating pathways for them.

"Equally, no football player should fear coming out as gay at the risk of suffering discrimination and we continue to strengthen our support programmes to ensure the game is open to all regardless of their sexuality.''

As well as harsher punishments for those involved in discrimination, players coming into England from abroad will be given mandatory induction lessons to ensure they are aware of the "British cultural environment", in a bid to avoid a repeat of the Luis Suarez-Patrice Evra affair.

The FA is also hoping to reach a stage where 10% of referees and level one coaches come from ethnic minority backgrounds, and is aiming to eradicate homopobia from the game. The action plan has been agreed by the FA, Premier League, Football League, Professional Footballers' Association (PFA), the League Managers' Association (LMA) and referees' bodies.

Clubs will also be encouraged to insert clauses in the contracts of managers and players making it clear that they will be punished for using racist language, with the PFA and LMA both in favour of such a course of action.

The FA will also call "on UEFA to consider minimum standard codes of conduct'' as part of the European governing body's club licensing system.

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