Herman Ouseley: FA need help to fight inequality

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The Football Association needs more support from other organisations within the game if it is to rid football of inequality, according to Kick It Out chairman Lord Ouseley.

Reacting to the decision taken by the FA last week to not issue disciplinary action against former Cardiff manager Malky Mackay over the content of text messages sent between him and former head of recruitment Iain Moody, Ouseley has written about his ongoing frustrations.

That outcome followed an 11-month investigation into the content of racist, sexist and homophobic messages and Ouseley believes more needs to be done across the board to address both the issues and the process in the future.


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He said: "Exactly a year ago, before the start of the last football season, I drew attention to the paucity of corporate leadership across all aspects of the professional game to accept personal and professional responsibility for tackling persistent discrimination, inequality and exclusion."

Having not seen any improvements, Ouseley singled out the FA but also feels the governing body needs assistance going forward.

"Whenever a major incident occurs, The FA inevitably is expected to sort it out and cops whatever criticism flows if the outcome fails to match some expectations," he continued.

"To some extent, as the governing body, that's to be expected. But the reality is that, repeatedly, all the other bodies in football, such as the leagues, the clubs, the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) and the League Managers Association (LMA) and others shy away from making decisions, which are theirs, as employers and as integrity standard bearers, relying instead on The FA to bail them out.

"But clarity is needed about who should initiate action and investigation. It should not only be the FA. In most cases the employer is the football club and surely it is there, where the action should be initiated.

"But historically they have always hid behind The FA, leaving such matters for The FA to deal with and absolving themselves from any responsibility for the conduct of their staff and members.

"Then there are the leagues and the other associated bodies such as the PFA and the LMA. They all have roles and responsibilities regarding standards of conduct, which appear to require clarification to deal with this deficiency and to secure effective implementation and enforcement."

Ouseley praised the FA for the way it handled recent investigations into blatant examples of discrimination but urged them to operate a more open policy once investigations are underway.

He said: "The FA has, over recent years, shown that it has the appetite and determination to conduct thorough and effective investigations into allegations of discriminatory conduct and to apply punitive and proportionate sanctions where proven. But such cases mostly involve what can be described as direct, blatant and "in your face" type abusive conduct.

"Part of the problem The FA must face up to is that once they embark on an investigation, it goes into silent mode and rarely communicates to keep public interest informed of progress.

"The lack of information feeds rumours, diminishes confidence in the system to deliver a fair outcome and reinforces the notion that The FA protects the status quo. If it does not sort this out, it will go on being the butt of criticism in investigations, such as this one, where much thorough investigation took place."

Ouseley, who has spearheaded Kick It Out's campaign for equality since it's inception, signed off his letter with a simple message.

"The bottom line is this: If those who run football want to make equality, diversity and inclusion happen, they could! So, why is it not happening? Don't answer that: JUST DO IT!"

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