Les Ferdinand calls for clubs and countries to be banned for racism
QPR director of football says he experienced racism from own fans after appointing Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink as manager
By James Dale
Last Updated: 25/04/19 12:25pm
Football teams including Chelsea and Montenegro should be banned from competitions over racist abuse, says Les Ferdinand.
The former Newcastle and England striker wants football's authorities to go a step further than Raheem Sterling's call for nine-point deductions for incidents of racist abuse and adopt a similar approach taken to stop hooliganism in the 1980s.
"What did they do to English teams? They banned them for five years," Ferdinand told Sky Sports News. "Kick them out of the competition, you'll soon solve the problem."
Sterling, who has backed a manifesto calling for change in how football's authorities deal with racism and discrimination, was allegedly racially abused by a Chelsea supporter last December.
Racism rising in football
- There were 520 reports of discrimination in English football last season, according to Kick It Out's figures, an increase of 11 per cent
- 53 per cent of these were of racism
Ferdinand insists racism is "a problem in society, not football" but said it can be eradicated from stadiums.
"When I was on the pitch I'd go and score a goal, go down the tunnel, get on the coach and I'm protected," he said.
"The problem is I've got a black mum and dad, black cousins, aunties and uncles who want to go to the football. Why should they be subjected to that in a stadium?
"What you need to do is ban whatever team it is from the competition.
"The people that are in charge of making these decisions have never been racially abused, so they do not understand the situation - all they do is pay lip service to it.
"We put in CCTV footage, we put security guards in to be able to eradicate these problems, that hasn't happened. So we need to go more drastic.
"The people making the decisions have never been racially abused. They may have empathy for it but they do not understand it."
'I'm 52 and we're still talking about it'
Only 0.5 per cent of the executive positions in football are filled by people from BAME backgrounds, according to the FARE network.
The FA has said its target is to reach 16 per cent BAME employees by 2021 [from 13 per cent] and 11 per cent in leadership positions [from 5 per cent].
Ferdinand, director of football at Queens Park Rangers since 2015, revealed he experienced racist abuse from his own supporters when he appointed Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink as manager.
"I came into football when I was 19 and we were talking about a problem of racism in football, I retired at 39 and we were still talking about that problem of racism in football, I'm now 52 and we're still talking about it," said Ferdinand.
Ferdinand's plea to have more diversity in the boardroom extends to the media.
The FA has said it supports The Times' manifesto appeal for the sports media industry to "recognise the power of its actions and tackle its own lack of diversity".
"Unfortunately we talk to people like Sky every time it rears its ugly head, all the newspapers want to talk about racism in football," Ferdinand said.
"But let's look beyond football and all the organisations that work off football. You've got Sky, a big part of Sky is football. A big part of TalkSPORT is football, a big part of all these industries is football.
"Sky has been in existence for 25 years now? I've not seen one black football presenter. Same as on BBC, I haven't seen one black football presenter.
"TalkSPORT had Stan Collymore presenting a football programme, but they talk about racism in sport, but they're not looking at their own industries and the same problem I'm talking about, is racism in general.
"They just talk about it in football, it's not football, it's society, Sky's society, BBC's society. Until we eradicate the problems there, don't be coming in here and shouting about it. Because the people who can control it, don't."
The media response
Sky Sports said: "We are committed to ensuring that we have a diverse team, both on and off-screen, that better represents the sports industry and wider society. We extensively cover incidents of discrimination across Sky Sports News including investigative reporting such as our ongoing 'Tackling Racism' series. It is an issue that we take extremely seriously and will continue to report and take action on."
BBC Sport have also responded, saying: "BBC Football is proud of its approach to equality and diversity through our range of presenters, reporters and studio experts across all our weekly programmes and live broadcasts."
TalkSPORT have yet to respond.