FA working to tackle football race hatred

The Football Association has admitted there is still more work to be done to tackle antisemitic abuse at all levels of the game.

Sue Law, the FA's Head of Equality, said significant improvements had been made in the past 18 months to educate and train match-day stewards, use CCTV to identify offenders, and to assist information-gathering and reporting.

But she acknowledged that the FA had to do more to publicise the enforcement of banning orders given to those caught engaging in abusive and racist behaviour at matches, in an attempt to deter others.

Ms Law urged people to report abuse and make their voices heard.

A conference was held at Wembley Stadium last week to review the progress of recommendations made in a 2010 report by the FA's Antisemitism and Islamophobia Taskforce.

Speaking exclusively to the JC, Ms Law said: "There is some great work going on but we cannot do much unless people report incidents. There is a will to do more. If people are not happy with how things are being done they should complain to the FA."

Earlier this year the FA supported The Y Word, a short film featuring England footballers which aimed to raise awareness of antisemitic chants, the use of the word "Yid" and hissing noises to imitate gas chambers.

Ms Law admitted there were "no easy answers"if Jewish Tottenham Hotspur fans sang "Yid Army" and "Yiddo" in support of their team, while at the same time the FA discouraged other clubs' fans from using the terms.

John Mann MP chairs the FA's Antisemitism and Islamophobia taskforce. He was "encouraged" by a "change of attitude" across the football community, particularly at county association and grassroots levels.

Mr Mann said: "The FA is significantly ahead of some of the clubs. They have got their head around the problem where many of the clubs have not."

But he warned that what had been achieved could be lost if policing cuts resulted in fewer officers at matches, increasing the pressure on stewards to catch offenders.

The FA rejected a recommendation from the taskforce to create a senate made up of black, Asian, Jewish and other ethnic minority volunteers.

    Last updated: 12:47pm, November 17 2011