PM intervention pressures FA to make bold decisions

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The Prime Minister was particularly forthright during the launch of an anti-discrimination summit at Downing Street, outlining his intention to 'crush' racism in football.

David Cameron has given the Football Association an ultimatum of sorts; asking them to deliver a plan in two months on how they intend to combat racism, as it appears to creep back into the game.

The intervention of Cameron does, of course, once again bring the subject back into sharp focus and provides an example of just how far the issue has escalated in recent months.

Incidents in football, he says, are often indicative of the nation as a whole, and it is imperative to make significant strides in the game for the sake of the entire country.

“What happens on the field influences what happens off the field. You see children as young as six imitating the behaviour they see on the field," Cameron explained.

“So this is not just important for football — it's important for the whole country.

“We want to make sure football is all about a power to do good, rather than anything else.”

The image of football in this country has been severely damaged by a number of high-profile recent incidents, which has led to renewed attempts to eradicate any form of discrimination in the sport.

Of these incidents, the most prominent have been those involving Liverpool striker Luis Suarez and Chelsea captain John Terry, the latter of which is still yet to be resolved.

Suarez was, of course, suspended by the FA for eight matches following his racial abuse of Manchester United Patrice Evra defender during an encounter between the two sides in October.

The 25-year-old further damaged his reputation earlier this month when, having only just returned from his ban, failed to shake the hand of Evra prior to Liverpool's defeat at Old Trafford.

This led to a furious reaction from United manager Sir Alex Ferguson but, after a display of contrition from those involved, the incident has been put to bed for now.

Terry, meanwhile, still faces possible sanction from the FA as they await the outcome of his trial for the alleged racist abuse of Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand.

FA chairman David Bernstein has already taken the controversial step to strip Terry of the England captaincy with the trial postponed until after Euro 2012 - a decision which led to Fabio Capello's resignation.

The FA will have already outlined their plans on how they plan to eradicate racism from the game by the time Terry appears in court and, should the Chelsea defender be found guilty, they will need to take a hardline approach.

The sanction on Suarez has sent a benchmark in terms of the severity of punishment that can be dealt, and demonstrates how seriously the FA regard the issue.

It is imperative the FA are consistent in their decision making regarding the problem and suspension of Suarez was a bold and, arguably, impressive step.

Although the Prime Minister may not receive any particularly groundbreaking proposals from the FA in two month's time, the decisions of Bernstein and Co will shape the future of the English game.

And, perhaps as Mr Cameron suggests, the decisions made by the powers in football will have an impact on the nation as a whole.

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