Bloomberg News

Cameron Hosts Talks on Racism, Homophobia in U.K. Soccer

February 22, 2012

(Updates with Morrison fine in fifth paragraph.)

Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron met with representatives of soccer and equality organizations to discuss ways to tackle discrimination in the sport.

The Premier League, which is sponsored by Barclays Bank Plc, and the Football Association attended today’s meeting, which was called after a series of racism accusations that led to criticism from around the world and reversed work done by the sport to improve its image.

“Football has done a huge amount in recent decades to eradicate the types of racist attitudes and behavior that sadly often blighted the game,” Cameron said after the meeting at his central London residence. “But we cannot be complacent, we must address problems which could, if left unchecked, threaten to undo much of the hard work that has been done.”

Chelsea’s John Terry was stripped of the captaincy of the national team by the F.A. on Feb. 3 while he awaits trial on charges of racially abusing a black player in a match in October. Liverpool’s Uruguayan striker, Luis Suarez, was suspended for eight games for abusing Patrice Evra of Manchester United the same month.

The F.A. today fined West Ham midfielder Ravel Morrison 7,000 pounds ($11,000) for “using abusive and/or insulting words including a reference to a person’s sexual orientation,” the ruling body said on its website.

The government is seeking to build on the success of soccer’s “Kick it out” anti-racism campaign, Cameron’s office said in an e-mailed statement. It will provide 3 million pounds ($4.7 million) to train new coaches, with an emphasis on those from minority communities, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said.

England’s 92 league soccer clubs had combined revenue of 2.7 billion pounds in the year to April 2010 and were projected to pay more than 1 billion pounds in taxes the following year, according to research by Deloitte LLP.

--With assistance from Robert Hutton in London. Editors: Andrew Atkinson, Eddie Buckle

To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Penny in London at tpenny@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net


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