UK Politics

MPs to hold inquiry into racism in sport

John Terry
Image caption John Terry has strongly denied using racist language towards Anton Ferdinand

MPs are to hold an inquiry into racism in sport, following a number of allegations involving top footballers.

The Commons culture committee will decide its terms of reference next week and will hear evidence on 6 March.

The move follows incidents involving Chelsea player and England captain John Terry and Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.

Conservative MP Damian Collins said recent events had "reignited concerns about racism in the game".

Uruguayan striker Suarez was banned for eight games and fined £40,000 last month for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra.

Terry has been charged with using racist language towards QPR player Anton Ferdinand, but has vowed to clear his name.

Most recently, police have been investigating allegations of racist abuse towards Oldham Athletic defender Tom Adeyemi during a game against Liverpool. A man has been arrested and bailed.

'Real teeth'

Mr Collins said: "I think the events of the last two weeks have reignited concerns about racism in the game.

"Although this session will not necessarily be restricted to football it will be the principle area of inquiry following the Suarez case and the concerns that have arisen from that."

Fellow committee member and Labour MP Steve Rotheram said he was a supporter of the Show Racism the Red Card campaign and believed that, given recent events, it was right for parliamentarians with and without football allegiances to investigate.

"Sport should be rightly proud that in many ways it has led the field in tackling social issues such as racism, homophobia and sectarianism and it will be interesting to see what conclusions the select committee draw from the evidence session," he said.

Earlier, members of the Parliamentary All-Party Football Group called for an inquiry, accusing the Football Association and individual clubs of "dragging their feet" over the issue.

Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock said an inquiry had to have "real teeth", while his Labour colleague Ian Lucas said MPs could look at the matter with a degree of independence.

"That, I think, is causing problems for the FA and individual clubs, who can be seen as self-serving," he said.

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