Referees to be given greater power to stop matches after FA admits not doing enough to tackle racism – The Telegraph

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Abuse-spotters in every stand, ­live-footage lip-readers and greater powers for referees to halt matches are being proposed after the ­Football Association ­acknowledged it had not done enough to root out racism. Greg Clarke, the FA chairman, was prompted to speak out after the monkey chants against Danny Rose in Montenegro last week, but said he could “not point a finger” at the Balkan nation, given high-profile attacks in the Premier League and the FA Cup season. “We must do more in England, including here at the English FA, and we must do more across ­Europe and we must do this together,” Clarke told delegates at Uefa’s first Equal Game conference at ­Wembley. Clarke, recently voted in as a vice-president of Fifa, hailed the maturity shown by Rose, Raheem Sterling and Callum Hudson-Odoi in speaking out, but said wide-ranging improvements must now remove the burden on players to report abuse. He said clubs and the FA had been swift to respond to ­incidents this season, but “that is really a bare minimum and clearly more needs to be done”. Spotters and CCTV can help ­narrow down potential individual racism attacks, while the threshold for Uefa’s three-step protocol, which dictates how officials should respond to racism, needed to be far lower, Clarke said. “The protocol asks the referee to stop the match if ‘racist behaviour is of a strong magnitude and ­intensity’,” he said. “I don’t now think that is good enough and we should take this opportunity to ­revisit these thresholds.” His proposals mean the alleged abuse aimed at Sterling at Stamford Bridge this season would now spark quicker intervention from officials. “A torrent of vile, racist abuse from one person when you are taking a throw-in or a corner is wholly ­unacceptable, too,” Clarke added. Advancements in technology and greater training for stewards should also be harnessed to ensure attacks “can be dealt with quickly and efficiently”, he added. “This training is currently being updated by the Premier League and English Football League and how to approach discrimination will be a fundamental part of this new ­approach,” he said. “I would also like to see a review of on-field incidents, too. I understand completely that when two people are involved in an exchange it is often the word of one person against another. But actually that’s not the case any more. The grounds that competitions are played in are full of cameras, recording every angle.” Clarke addressed the congress as police in Montenegro prepare to pass on their findings about racism in the stands within days. On Tuesday, Momir Djurdjevac, general secretary of the Montenegro FA and a member of the Uefa media committee, said the nation should not be pilloried because of the antics of a “handful of idiots”. “Montenegro showed its multi-ethnicity broadness of mind in the Nineties when war was raging, when it accommodated hundreds of thousands of refugees, who made up 30 per cent of the population,” he said. Djurdjevac added that “frankly I did not hear the sounds”. “Many with whom I spoke did not hear,” he said. “The top brass of politicians – president, PM, assembly president, minister of sport, Olympic Committee, mayor of Podgorica – they were all there and racism did not come up as an issue there. The [match] delegate himself did not hear those chants. The referee did not stop the game or go through the three steps. I’m not saying they did not occur. They were a handful of idiots and, because of those three or four, Montenegro has been pilloried. Please condemn those individuals, but let’s not talk bad about 99.9 per cent of people in the stadium that day.” He added that “I would like to apologise to all those who have gained a very bad impression of Podgorica”.
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