Abuse in football needs to stop, says Clarke Carlisle

16/07/12

Clarke Carlisle

After the John Terry trial last week, a debate has started in football about how widespread verbal abuse is in the game.

The Chelsea captain was found not guilty of racially insulting QPR's Anton Ferdinand last October.

Former Premier League defender Clarke Carlisle is chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA).

He has been looking into all aspects of the issue for a new BBC Three programme called Is Football Racist?

He says all bad language needs to be tackled on the pitch.

"There is a fine line between banter and abuse," he said.

"In my opinion we need to stamp out all foul language full stop. In doing that you eradicate the grey area of where the boundary is."

'Utter discrimination'

For the documentary, Clarke Carlisle travelled around the UK looking at all areas of football, including into the lack of Asian footballers in the Premier League.

The former QPR, Leeds and Watford player says he found out that he was part of the problem himself.

"[I had] stereotypical views, especially of young Asian guys and their aspirations to become footballers and their family desires for them to either go into academia or play football," he said.

This guy's father was told by a scout that he'd been expressly told not to scout Asian players. If that's not a direct barrier and utter discrimination, I don't know what is
Clarke Carlisle

"I thought they weren't interested and if they were good enough they'd be coming through the ranks. What I found is that isn't the case."

The 32-year-old grew up in Preston before starting his career at Blackpool, where he made 93 appearances.

He says he didn't experience any racism himself but heard about plenty of examples while making the programme.

"We watched a team and talked to some players who were blatantly talented," he said.

"One lad scored 84 goals in a season. I've never heard of that at any level of youth football.

"This guy's father was told by a scout that he'd been expressly told not to scout Asian players.

"If that's not a direct barrier and utter discrimination, I don't know what is.

"It confuses me. It's a completely untapped resource.

"Not only is it obstructing their rights as an individual to progress in the career of their choice but for the benefit of the game for us producing the best talent for our nation, why not tap into this 10-12% of the population?"

Is Football Racist? is on BBC Three tonight (16 July) at 9pm.