FA hits back at claims of institutional racism

ENGLAND football chiefs reacted angrily last night after being termed “institutionally racist” by the Society of Black Lawyers, calling the accusation “ill-informed and unhelpful”.

Football Association chairman David Bernstein responded to criticism that the governing body should have reported to police Chelsea’s complaints that referee Mark Clattenburg racially abused their player John Obi Mikel.

“These ill-informed and unhelpful remarks are at odds with the progressive and responsible approach being followed by the game with the support of government to deal with these serious issues,” said Bernstein. “The FA will continue working to strengthen processes to eradicate all forms of discrimination in football.”

Society of Black Lawyers chair Peter Herbert, who reported the Clattenburg allegations to police only for them to drop the probe on Tuesday, earlier said the FA had “a history of under-reporting race hate”. He added: “We would call it institutionally racist.” Herbert accused Chelsea and the FA, which is set to finish its own Clattenburg probe this week, of having “a cosy agreement” not to involve police.

Clarke Carlisle, chairman of players union the PFA, defended Chelsea and the FA. He said: “We have to have faith Chelsea have reported the incidents in good faith and that the FA will deal with it accordingly, and report it to the police if necessary.”