Kick it Out slams FA panel’s verdict on discrimination against ex-Crawley boss John Yems

Kick It Out, football’s anti-discrimination body, has condemned the Football Association’s independent panel for the lack of severity of John Yems’ 18-month football ban, calling it a “slap in the face to the victims of discriminatory abuse”. Ex-Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright and former England defender Anita Asante are among footballers who have also beaten the FA.

On January 6, the former Crawley Town manager was banned by the FA for a year and a half after Sportsmail revealed last year that he had used racist language against his own players.

The 63-year-old was found guilty of 12 charges of discriminatory language while in charge of the League Two club last season, with the FA handing down the longest ban he has ever imposed for racial slurs.

Anti-racism organization Kick It Out has blasted the FA panel for its verdict on John Yems

Anti-racism organization Kick It Out has blasted the FA panel for its verdict on John Yems

The full extent of former Crawley manager Yems''discriminatory language' and'racist banter' towards his players has been revealed by the FA - with the lack of heaviness angering Kick It Out

The full extent of former Crawley manager Yems’ ‘discriminatory language’ and ‘racist banter’ towards his players has been revealed by the FA – with the lack of heaviness angering Kick It Out

He was banned for 18 months earlier this month after Sportsmail revealed a group of Crawley players complained about their manager's language last April

He was banned for 18 months earlier this month after Sportsmail revealed a group of Crawley players complained about their manager’s language last April

Yems admitted to one charge and was found guilty of making comments about 11 others related to ethnicity, color, race, nationality, religion, belief or gender between 2019 and 2022.

An independent oversight commission found four others unproven – including other alleged jokes about terrorism and a claim that black people don’t go fishing because they would stab the fish – since the 63-year-old was banned from all football-related activities earlier this month inclusive June 1, 2024.

Aside from referring to some of his troops as “Zulu warriors” and “terrorists”, Yems has also been credited with:

  • Intentionally mispronounced the second half of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s name to emphasize the word “n****r”.
  • Said Muslim players “your people blow things up with vests”.
  • Said that an Iraq youth international from the club “would probably blow up the stadium”.
  • Repeated remarks about another player “carrying a bomb in his pocket”.
  • Called a player a “curry eater”.
  • Repeatedly asked the same player if he was unhappy that the club weren’t serving ‘curry pizza’.
  • On his return to Crawley after representing Grenada, he remarked to a player about “how dark his skin is”.
  • Frequently asked several African players if they had eaten jerk chicken, despite being told on more than one occasion that it is a Jamaican delicacy.

Sportsmail revealed last April that half a dozen Crawley players had complained to the PFA about Yem’s alleged racist language, leading to his immediate suspension from the club and his departure the following month, with the FA opening an investigation.

The full extent of Yems’ “discriminatory language” and “racist banter” towards his players was released by the FA on Tuesday night.

The Football Association of England has concluded that Yems is not a ‘conscious racist’ but the allegations against him, which have been confirmed by their independent panel, remain shocking – although it has been noted that he labeled his black players as ‘Zulu warriors’ and its Muslim member as ‘terrorists’.

The FA concludes that Yems is not a

The FA concludes that Yems is not a “conscious racist” but the allegations against him, which have been confirmed by its independent panel, remain shocking

Kick It Out hit back in a statement of its own, expressing dismay at the independent FA panel’s conclusions.

“The discriminatory language outlined in the independent FA panel’s report is simply shocking,” the statement said.

“Given the seriousness of the incidents described, it is very difficult to understand how the independent FA panel concluded that ‘Mr Yems is not a knowing racist’. We do not share this view. The behavior outlined in the report must be called exactly what it is, racism and Islamophobia.

“To be clear, a 15-month ban given the seriousness of the 11 proven charges is a slap in the face to victims of the discriminatory abuse detailed in this report and to anyone who has been the victim of racism or Islamophobia.

“Furthermore, when he reduces his ongoing string of abusive, Islamophobic and racist utterances to simply ‘inappropriate joking’ it shows a complete lack of understanding of the damage this language can do, or of the power dynamic that exists in the game.

“This decision also sets a dangerous precedent by allowing perpetrators to hide behind a ‘banter’ defense if they are intentionally using harmful and discriminatory language, and we will be contacting the FA to understand how the panel reached its conclusion.

“We applaud the courage of the victims of this case to come forward and encourage all those involved in the game who are sadly finding themselves in similar situations to get in touch with us at Kick It Out.”

Kick It Out called the verdict a

Kick It Out called the verdict a “slap in the face to victims of discriminatory abuse.”

Sanjay Bhandari is the current Kick It Out Chair of Kick It Out

Sanjay Bhandari is the chairman of Kick It Out

Arsenal legend Wright echoed Kick It Out’s sentiment by heavily criticizing the FA’s independent panel.

“This man’s words and actions forced young players, the future of our game, from his club. Who cares how he felt about it!! He destroyed their dreams. The message this judgment sends is shameful. But don’t worry, the next FA campaign will feature a nice ‘Progress’ video!

Asante, who won 71 caps for England between 2004 and 2018, revealed she will contact the FA on Wednesday to demand clarification.

“Transparency is key, so today I’m reaching out to The @FA as I want to know more about who was on that panel and how they came to that conclusion.”

West Ham women’s footballer Kate Longhurst also tweeted her disdain for the FA’s wording: “I’m sorry but ‘no conscious racist’ doesn’t wash up! The listed things he said are terrible! The faster we get people like that out of football and show real penalties, the more nothing will change!’

While they made it clear that they did not view Yems as a racist, the FA panel concluded that his behavior was perceived as “offensive, racist and Islamophobic” by many of Crawley’s players, leading to them giving him the longest Ban granted that has ever been imposed discriminatory language.

“We consider this to be an extremely serious case,” the FA report said. “We have accepted that Mr Yems is not a knowing racist. If so, an extremely long, even permanent, suspension would be appropriate.

“Nonetheless, Mr Yems’ ‘banter’ undoubtedly came across as abusive, racist and Islamophobic to the victims and others. Mr. Yems just ignored the distress his inappropriate joking caused.’

The FA calls the players who testified against Yems credible witnesses and condemns him for not taking into account how his language made them feel.

Although Yems was described as

Although Yems was described as “not a knowing racist”, the FA said his “banter was undoubtedly perceived by the victims and others as offensive, racist and Islamophobic”.

“We are confident that Mr. Yems is not a racist as a person,” the report said. “Mr Yems also never intended to make racist remarks.

“Nevertheless, what matters more is how what he said from time to time was perceived by those to whom it was addressed than his subjective intention.

“There was considerable evidence that he believed Mr Yems had a habit of cracking jokes that were perceived as racist by those who were the butt of the jokes.

“It is likely that Mr. Yems gave no thought at all to the effect of his language on those at whom the ‘jokes’ are directed. Nor was he concerned at all about the likely reaction of others to the language he used.

“In our view, Mr. Yems did not intentionally lie in his statements because he failed to say many of the things he allegedly said. He may even think he didn’t actually say what is being claimed.

“From our point of view, from time to time he simply did not give any thought to the effect of his statements. For him, there was nothing unusual or out of the ordinary in his language to make it memorable.

“Nonetheless, for those who were the subject of the comments, the position was entirely different. We have already recorded our finding that the players who testified before us were formidable witnesses. We have no doubt that they intended to tell us the truth and we categorically reject any suggestion that any of them lied.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-11648485/Kick-slam-FAs-panel-verdict-ex-Crawley-boss-John-Yems-discrimination.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Kick it Out slams FA panel’s verdict on discrimination against ex-Crawley boss John Yems

Maureen Mackey

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