Monday February 20th
Contact Lee Jasper: 07984 181797
Liverpool Football Club has come under fierce criticism from an influential group of high profile, local and national black leaders, alongside a host of anti racist organisations.
The group have written an open letter delivered today accusing LFC and manager Kenny Dalglish of grossly mishandling the Saurez/Patrice Evra affair contributing to the incitement of racism in football and wider society. We know that they have had good advice to assist them and refused to take it choosing instead to continue on in this manner.
The group called on LFC to accept the findings of the FA investigation that concluded that Suarez had racially abused Evra and offer an immediate and unreserved apology to Evra.
LFC is accused of colluding with racism by seeking to dismiss the FA's findings and racially aggravating this sensitive issue by inappropriately and misguidedly showing public team support for Suarez post the publication of the FA's investigative report into these matters. The refusal of Suarez to shake Evra's hand was a further incitement of racism. The group called on LFC to acknowledge the implicit racism involved and issue a statement with other civic leaders committing themselves to opposing racism and to commit to organise a conference on racism in football.
Gloria Hyatt MBE said
" Liverpool Football Club has presided over the worst incident of racism in football seen in recent years. Their misguided handling of Suarez/Evra has let down all of those in the city who worked hard to challenge racism and make Liverpool a better place to live for everyone."
Lee Jasper a national human rights and race equality campaigner said
" The club including the owners, the players and the manager need to realise the enormous damage caused by their reluctance and obdurate behaviour. Kenny Daglish used to manage Celtic he ought to know the importance of stamping out bigotry. The club failed the city, the nation as a whole and in particular Britain's black communities. Their abysmal lack of leadership on this issues has given a green light to racism. They must make urgent reparations and make a clear and unequivocal apology".Letter sent to Liverpool FC:
Statement of Intent
We the undersigned wish to express our grave concerns about the inadequate responses of Liverpool Football Club to the findings by the FA regulatory commission that determined Luis Saurez was guilty of racially insulting the Manchester United player, Patrice Evra.
Football is a unifying sport providing pleasure and entertainment to billions of people across the planet. Young people from every corner of our world passionately support their team. Football players are held in high regard and viewed as positive role models.
Clubs, players and managers have an important and globally recognized responsibility to demonstrate their commitment to the principle of common decency and fair play. Throughout the world, both on and off the football pitch they inspire and socially educate billions of young people who admire and mimic their actions.
The issue of racism in football is one that requires unambiguous anti racist leadership. The actions of LFC in the run up to and following the publication of the FA’s findings fell short of the high standard of leadership expected for a team of their standing in the football community.
LFC actions, in vehemently rejecting the findings of the FA inquiry, their public displays of support for a player found guilty of racist abuse and his subsequent refusal to shake the hand of Evra at a recent game is completely unacceptable. These actions we believe could be considered as inciting racial intolerance.
Whilst the subsequent apologies for the failure to engage with the traditions of a pre game “hand shake” are to be welcomed, there remains deep concern, about LFC’s absolute refusal to accept the findings of the FA’s investigation. As such these apologies fail to meet the test of genuine remorse and understanding. This is further negated by LFC’s failure to apologise for racism either through the club or Suarez.
Neither have LFC recognised or acknowledged the consequent damage to race relations resulting from their actions and recognised by many people of all races across the country. As a result, efforts to combat racism in football and the wider society in general have been critically undermined.
Compounding these serious errors is the failures of Liverpool’s civic leaders, many of whom have remained silent on these critical issues and have failed to publicly condemn LFC’s decision not to robustly and effectively challenge racism.
Such is the overwhelming power of the Premier League and the influence of clubs such as LFC it is imperative that this situation cannot be allowed to stand.
The international reputation of Liverpool as a city committed to race equality is at stake. In addition there is a real and urgent need to restore confidence in the campaign against racism in football, both here, in the UK and across the world.
To this end we have four key demands;
Love Football, Hate Racism:
Twitter: follow @LFHRUK
Consortium of Liverpool and National Black and Minority Organisations:
Gloria Hyatt MBE Teach Consultancy Limited
Liverpool Black Leadership Forum
Femi Sowande Merseyside Black History Month Group
Eric Lynch Slavery History Tours
Alec Mcfadden Merseyside Coalition Against Racism and Facism
Alec Mcfadden Merseyside TUC
Paul Sesay Smith Diversity Group and National Diversity Awards
Earl Jenkins Kingsley United
Paul Jenkins North West Unite Against Facism
Zita Holbourne Black Activists Rising Against Cuts
Shantele Janes Cheshire Halton and Warrington Race Equality Centre
Tracey Hylton Edit Consultancy
Lee Jasper London Race and Criminal Justice Consortium
Peter Herbert OBE Society of Black Lawyers
Simon Woolley Operation Black vote
Charles Crichlow National Black Police Association
Dave Weaver 1990 Trust
Stafford Scott Tottenham Defence Campaign
Viv Ahmun Coreplan