Authorities must get tough - Regis
Published 23/10/2012 | 08:22
The player boycott of Kick It Out T-shirts was sparked by a belief John Terry had been let off lightly, according to Cyrille Regis.
The former England and West Brom striker, part of the generation of black players that first made the breakthrough into the English game, is the uncle of Reading striker Jason Roberts, who refused to wear the T-shirts at the weekend along with Rio and Anton Ferdinand.
"There is a feeling that John Terry has been let off lightly," said Regis, quoted in the Guardian. "You are not going to stamp out racism with laws - it is intrinsic to some people. But where it rears its ugly head the authorities have to stamp down and, if they don't do it with the right force, it gives the impression that it's okay."
He added: "Black players have been voicing their opinion for a long time but feel it hasn't been listened to. They were unhappy at the time it took for the FA to sort things out - a whole year in the John Terry case.
"Then Luis Suarez got eight games, while Terry got four - what is the difference? The panel's assessment was that Suarez said the word several times while John Terry only said it once? Come on. Do we have zero tolerance or not?"
Meanwhile, a national anti-racism organisation has called for a summit meeting to tackle the grievances of those players who boycotted the T-shirts. Show Racism the Red Card says it understands why the players refused to wear the shirts.
A statement from Show Racism the Red Card said: "The issue of not wearing the Kick It Out (KIO) shirts at the weekend highlights the displeasure of certain players in relation to the footballing authorities' handling of the incidents of racism in the game."
Meanwhile, Wales and Aberdeen keeper Jason Brown claimed black players could be driven towards setting up a breakaway anti-racism group. He told Sky Sports News: "People come out and say there can't be a breakaway, I'm all for that. We don't want to be rebels and break away, but if they're not doing enough, they're driving us to go down that road."
But PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor has urged his members not to take that route.
"We have moved forward as much as we have done so far by being together," he was quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror. "A breakaway group would only serve to weaken us and prevent us building bridges with the people who can affect change."