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FA gets tough with clubs over racism
4:26pm Thursday 20th December 2012 in Premier League
Clubs will face sanctions for failing to deal with racism by players, coaches or their fans, under football's new anti-discrimination drive.
The Football Association also says it will strive for at least 10% of referees and level one coaches coming from ethnic minority backgrounds.
Players and coaches arriving from abroad will have to undergo mandatory induction lessons to ensure they are aware of the "British cultural environment".
The plan, which will now be submitted to the Government, follows a Downing Street summit called in February after the Luis Suarez and John Terry racial abuse cases.
It has been agreed by the FA, Premier League, Football League, Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) and League Managers' Association (LMA).
FA chairman David Bernstein said: "This is a commitment on behalf of English football to ensure the game is inclusive and free of discrimination. Only by the sum of all our parts working together, will we affect further and greater change.
"This continues to be a top priority for me, as chairman of the Football Association, and I believe this action plan states our collective commitment and lays out clearly the individual actions to move forward this vital agenda."
In relation to possible action against clubs, the plan states the FA would work with "the Premier League and Football League to sanction clubs who repeatedly fail to sanction their employees, who breach their contract or code of conduct, or deal inadequately with fans in relation to discriminatory language or behaviour."
The action plan should be implemented immediately, say the FA, and certainly under way by next season.
The FA will set up an 'Inclusion Advisory Board' to oversee the plan, which will also call on UEFA to consider "minimum standard codes of conduct" as part of the European governing body's club licensing system.
There have been suggestions that a minimum five-match ban will be brought in for racism, but that is some way down the line - it will be considered by a working group.
The action plan states it will "review the sanctions regime to ensure that it is timely, appropriate, proportionate and effective at all levels".
The plan also calls for the recruitment process for managers and coaches to be reviewed, with a voluntary code set up.
Culture secretary Maria Miller welcomed the action plan.
She said: "While we have made significant progress in this area over the last two decades, recent incidents have shown a need for concerted action.
"We want to see this action plan implemented and the football authorities to show strong leadership on anti-discrimination at both the professional and grassroots levels of the game. The sports minister will continue to work with the football authorities to make progress in this area."
Miller said she was "encouraged" by the proposals to improve the ethnic diversity of coaches.
She added: "We are pleased that football will fully support Kick It Out as an effective campaign group across all forms of discrimination."
Both the PFA and LMA say they would be in favour of players and managers having it made clear in their contracts that they would face action for racist language.
The plan states the organisations would support "standard clauses that address discriminatory language and behaviour, in managers and coaches' contracts."
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