How a change in approach could help tackle racism in football – The Jonjo Shelvey case
Shelvey was accused of using abusive language to another player coupled with “Arab” or “Arabic”. The reference to ethnic origin, race and/or nationality aggravated the offence. Mr Shelvey claimed that he used the words “smelly breathed prick”, he also claimed that he used them because he had been called abusive terms several times during the game by, he believed, the recipient of his remarks.
Mr Shelvey suffers from alopecia and is bald as a result. The abuse he said that he had received referred to his baldness. Based on the evidence the panel concluded on the balance of probabilities that Mr Shelvey was guilty of the alleged conduct and he received the mandatory 5 match ban along with a £100,000 fine, a requirement to undertake a face to face mandatory education course and a warning as to future conduct.
To summarise such a case does not take long but the author have been grappling with what is new about yet another case of such conduct. The case was one of at least 12 at which players and coaching staff were disciplined over the calendar year for aggravated breaches of FA rule E3 the vast majority for comments relating to race (all bar two). Mr Shelvey’s case might not be particularly exceptional but it demonstrates that despite a concerted effort to tackle racism in football over many years it remains an issue at all levels of the game.
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- Tags: Australian Football League (AFL) | Discrimination | Equality | Equality Act 2010 | Football | Golf | Racism | Rugby | The FA | United Kingdom (UK)
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About the Author
Lydia is an active member of the Littleton Chambers Sports law group. In line with the broader chambers specialisms Lydia’s core areas of practice are commercial law and employment law. Lydia’s commercial practice encompasses disputes including contractual interpretation, professional negligence and directors’ duties. Lydia’s employment work has a particular focus on disability discrimination but also incorporates all areas of tribunal disputes and high court action in relation to bonuses and restrictive covenants.