PFA set to introduce race awareness sessions after Suarez saga

By Simon AustinBBC Sport
Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra
Suarez (left) claimed a defence of cultural differences

The Professional Footballers' Association is looking to introduce cultural awareness sessions for players in the wake of the Luis Suarez saga.

Young players already attend such sessions and the PFA is now looking to extend this to senior players.

"This is something we are seriously looking into. It's very important," said PFA assistant chief Bobby Barnes.

"Players need to be aware of what is and isn't acceptable. These sessions have certainly benefited scholars."

Suarez was banned for eight matches for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra at Anfield in October.

The Liverpool striker had claimed a defence of cultural differences, saying it was commonplace to call people "negro" in his home country of Uruguay and that the term was not offensive there.

Barnes played for West Ham in the 1980s
Barnes played for West Ham in the 1980s

"It's very important that players, especially foreign players, are aware of cultural differences and of the different buttons that will upset people in our leagues," former West Ham United winger Barnes told BBC Sport.

"It's down to the clubs and ourselves to educate players about this."

Scholars at Premier League and Football League clubs currently attend PFA workshops about diversity, at which they are given examples of unacceptable language.

"This is a changing world," said Barnes. "When I was playing, it was deemed acceptable to describe black players as coloured or half-caste, but it isn't now."

Blackburn striker Jason Roberts, a member of the PFA's management committee, told BBC Sport it was crucial that players coming to England were educated about what was and was not acceptable language.

"He [Suarez] should have been educated," said Roberts. "That's certainly something that's come out of this.

"If you're going to come and play in the Premier League and live in our society it's important that you understand the rules we abide by."

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