For a Football Association that would consider themselves a forward thinking, impartial and modern governing body, it seems strange that the FA have seemingly failed to take any action over the allegations that John Terry and Luis Suarez used racially abusive language to fellow players. Yes there are ‘on going investigations’, but given the amount of time that has passed, especially when looking at the Suarez/Evra complaint, it seems ludicrous that the FA could not have reached some kind of decision by now.
This is not the first time such allegations have come to pass, in a very recent piece on why racism is still an issue in our game, I raised the point that it is often the players who make the allegations that are interrogated and made to feel on trial by the FA. The example I used was the case of Yobo, Lescott Howard and Emre, with the Everton players stating that they felt the FA were treating them as though they had done something wrong and made them ‘disillusioned’ by the whole process.
Indeed, think of the level of support that both Suarez and John Terry have received from their respective clubs. Each have been backed to the hilt, with strong denials from both Dalglish and AVB over the occurrence of either incident. In fact, the level of backing the accused players have received has arguably been more extensive than by the clubs supporting Evra and Ferdinand.
Obviously neither club wish to prejudice the on-going investigations, yet something more than a statement saying they stand behind the player would not go amiss. Only Neil Warnock has come out all guns blazing in support of Anton Ferdinand, and this was only after the defender was the target of sickening chants from the crowd and threatening messages from members of the public.
Again, this is something that whilst may not have been able to be fully avoided, is certainly something that could have been abetted earlier, had the FA sped up their enquiry and reached a decision one way or the other. By letting the allegations drag on, it is only fuelling the fire and encouraging the fans, who are moronic and misguided at best, to continue in their attacks on Ferdinand.
There is of course, a minority of fans in all clubs who do not represent the general majority of supporter’s views, and we are sadly seeing that side of Chelsea once again, with the chants levelled both in support of Terry and against Ferdinand. In no way does any player deserve to receive death threats, yet it speaks volumes that it is Ferdinand who is on the receiving end of these, not the accused John Terry – who has hardly led a life of perfection off the field before these most recent claims – and has been advised by the Met Police to install a panic alarm in his house.
Should the FA have dealt with these claims straight away, this may have been avoided, and the appropriate sanctions could have been handed out, and the whole sorry affair – whilst not forgotten, moved on from. Instead what we have is Luis Suarez now claiming that when he is found innocent, he will be asking for an apology from Evra, and John Terry in a position to represent the national side on Friday evening. Neither of which should be happening, and make Ferdinand and Evra look as though their claims are unsupported and unsubstantiated.
For too long the FA have been happy to sweep such allegations under the carpet, and seem to be much more content to be fining players who breach twitter rules or commit a trivial act and ‘bring the game in to disrepute.’
It is the FA and their failure to act in said cases that really undermine all the hard work done in the ‘kick it out’ campaigns, and a stand needs to be taken at the very highest level. Yes, we now have very little racial chanting from supporters, but are comments on the pitch any better – in a word – No. Yet the FA seem very happy to sweep incidents under the carpet and hope that they go away.
It is credit to the players who are brave enough to make a stand and refuse to back down, not to mention the sections of both the media and fans who are outraged at such conduct that the allegations against both Suarez and Terry are still mentioned, and pressure is still on the authorities to conclude the investigations.
Racism has no place in our game, and it is time the FA started making good on their words and take action once and for all.