Premier League launches action plan to combat racism

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The Premier League has launched a No Room For Racism Action Plan to build on the existing work taken to promote equality, diversity and inclusion.

The plan outlines a series of commitments aimed at creating greater access to opportunities and career progression for black, Asian and other minority ethnic groups in football, and actions to eradicate racial prejudice.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: “Football is a diverse sport, which brings together communities and cultures from all backgrounds.

“This diversity has made the game stronger on the pitch and it is vital we ensure this is reflected across all areas of the game.

“The No Room For Racism Action Plan underpins the Premier League’s continued commitment to promoting equality and tackling discrimination.

“It builds on the wide-ranging work undertaken by clubs, aiming to ensure that everyone can achieve their potential, regardless of background.

“There is no place for racism in our sport and the Premier League will continue to take action against all forms of discrimination so that football is inclusive and welcoming for all.”

Earlier this week, the Football Association called on the Government to act quickly in the fight against racism after Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe and Lauren James, a forward for the club’s women’s team, were both targeted on social media.

Last month the Duke of Cambridge, president of the FA, described the racist abuse aimed at footballers as “despicable” and urged it “must stop now”.

This followed United trio Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Tuanzebe being the target of racism, while West Brom midfielder Romaine Sawyers and Chelsea full-back Reece James – brother of Lauren – were also sent racist messages on social media during January.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden described the abuse as “absolutely shocking” and warned a change in the law would see social media companies “more accountable for what happens on their platforms”.

The Premier League’s action plan has been developed in partnership with the organisation’s equality advisor to the board, Paul Cleal, and was given unanimous support by the 20 member clubs at last week’s shareholders’ meeting.

Six commitments underpin the plan – executive pathways, coaching pathways, player pathways, supporting communities, action against racism and embedding equality.

The Premier League is “committed to increasing the representation of coaches from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, in the process addressing the historic underrepresentation of black former players in coaching and other technical roles at senior levels in football”.

Working with partners across the game, such as the FA, English Football League, Professional Footballers’ Association and League Managers’ Association, the organisation aims to help “develop more black, Asian, minority ethnic and female coaches who can succeed at the top level of English football”.

A general view of the “No room for racism” badge on Tottenham forward Harry Kane
Premier League clubs continue to highlight the “No Room For Racism” campaign (Adam Davy/PA)

There is a commitment to using the “appeal and reach of the league and clubs” by working together supporting community projects and pathways to opportunities.

The drive to take action against all forms of racism will continue.

Reporting of abusive and discriminatory behaviour will be made easier and more effective, while enforcement will also be improved along with the effectiveness of sanctions, whether offences occur in stadiums or online.

The Premier League says it will continue to “take action against online discriminatory abuse, supporting players, managers and their families and urging social media companies to take greater proactive interventions”.

Under the new action plan, member clubs will also be provided with a clear framework for achieving and reporting progress against agreed equality, diversity and inclusion targets.

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