Lord Ouseley, the chairman of the Kick It Out campaign, has launched a scathing attack on the Premier League’s top clubs for displaying a “moral vacuum” during the recent cases of racial abuse involving Liverpool’s Luis Suarez and Chelsea’s John Terry.
Ouseley believes the actions of the clubs involved were taken in the best interests of their players rather than what was right and has blasted the moral state of the game.
Speaking of Terry, the 67-year-old blasted the absence of any real criticism of Terry’s behaviour in the official statements from his club in the wake of the verdict.
“There is very little morality in football among the top clubs,” Ouseley told The Guardian.
“Leadership is so important; you have to send a powerful message that racism is completely unacceptable. But there is a moral vacuum.
“The big clubs look after their players as assets. There was no bold attitude from them, to say that they would not put up with it.
“The condemnations have been mealy mouthed. The FA did a good job with how they handled the independent commissions themselves – they showed that firm action is now taken when racist abuse is reported to them.
“We want all players and fans to feel confident about reporting abuse. But the FA did not say anything about the lies and distortions which came out in John Terry’s and Ashley Cole’s evidence.”
Ouseley was also critical of the clubs involved for publicly supporting their players’ innocence before any hearings had commenced – most notably with Liverpool’s players at one point taking to the pitch wearing shirts in support of Suarez – and of the FA, for allowing such behaviour to go unpunished.
“We [Kick It Out] were observing the process [by not releasing any public statements about the two cases], but the managers were speaking out and sticking up for Luis Suarez and John Terry,” said the 67-year-old.
“The FA should have asserted themselves, said they would not put up with people disrespecting the process, but the FA were very slack and weak. The whole 12 months was wasted in hypocrisy.”
The Kick It Out chairman also discussed the criticism which the campaign has recently been subjected to, with a number of Premier League players recently refusing to wear shirts in its support.
Reading striker Jason Roberts was one such player, and Ouseley addressed his sentiments about the disenchantment that a number of black footballers are feeling towards the campaign, and its shortage of funding.
“Jason Roberts said we are not doing enough directly against racism and Kick It Out has become too broad an anti-discrimination campaign,” he added. “I can accept that as a valid view and he put his case eloquently.
“If people feel we need more of a cutting edge, then we have to address that.
“But many players did not articulate why they were doing it and it seemed the organisation which for 19 years has been fighting racism became the one which took the criticism.”