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Home » Legal Affairs

Lawyers accuse Liverpool and Chelsea Football Clubs of condoning Suarez and Terry Racism

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The Society of Black Lawyers (SBL) has condemned Liverpool and Chelsea Football Clubs for appearing to condone the alleged racism of Luis Suarez and John Terry. The organisation is urging the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to treat the Suarez affair as a racist incident and argues that there should be no difference in the treatment of the two players.

The Society of Black Lawyers (SBL), has condemned as indefensible, the stance of Chelsea and Liverpool Football Clubs for appearing to endorse the alleged acts of racism perpetuated by John Terry and Luis Suarez respectively.

Chelsea F.C. issued a statement, expressing their unconditional support after captain John Terry was charged with a racially aggravated public order offence relating to alleged remarks to Queens Park Rangers (QPR) defender Anton Ferdinand. Meanwhile, Liverpool F.C. has continued to defend the behaviour of Luis Suarez following the eight-match ban given to the Uruguayan who was found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra.

The SBL was one of the main organisations that successfully campaigned for racism to be criminalised and recognised as a hate crime in the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. The organisation intends to make a formal complaint to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) about the racist and offensive language used by Luis Suarez and will urge the CPS to treat the matter as a racist incident requiring a full and proper investigation. The SBL will also urge the CPS to prosecute Mr Suarez if the outcome of the investigation evinces a reasonable prospect of a conviction according to the public interest test contained within the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

The SBL contends that there should be no difference in the treatment of the two players and as both football clubs are the players’ respective employers, such instances of racism ought to have been treated as allegations of gross misconduct by the clubs and not simply denied as being completely unfounded.

SBL Co-Chair, Peter Herbert OBE commented:

“To our knowledge, neither club has bothered to conduct its own independent investigation or hold a disciplinary hearing. If such serious allegations of racism had been made in the workplace, any reasonable employer would consider itself to be under a strict duty to conduct a full, detailed and impartial investigation into the allegations, and not simply to state that they stand behind the denials of the player concerned.

The punitive effects of racism are felt by thousands of people in Britain each day. The response of the Footbaall Association (FA) and the CPS must be robust to protect others from the humiliation, pain and suffering that this type of hate crime inflicts. There is no reason why Suarez should not face criminal charges. When individual football clubs and fellow players – both black and white – endorse this kind of behaviour, they themselves become part of the problem because they stand in the way of the total eradication of racism from the sport. Their denial and appeasement reflects an abdication of their role as responsible players or employers.”

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