The FA has challenged comments made by Kick It Out’s head of development Troy Townsend, in Anton Ferdinand’s documentary “Football, Racism and Me” which aired on Monday evening.
FA Claims Townsend Remarks Marred by ‘Serious Inaccuracies’ in Ferdinand Documentary
Townsend Stated He Feared For Job if He Speaks Out Against Footballing Authorities
The documentary covered the periods both during and after Anton Ferdinand claimed he was racially abused by England and Chelsea captain John Terry in 2011.
An independent disciplinary panel found the former England captain guilty of racially abusing Ferdinand. The FA subsequently banned Terry for four matches and fined him £220,000, after he was accused of calling the then-Queens Park Rangers defender a “f***ing black c***”.
Kick It Out’s Troy Townsend spoke to Ferdinand as part of the documentary. Ferdinand asked Townsend why Kick It Out – one of the biggest voices in the game regarding racism – didn’t do more to help him with the case against Terry.
Townsend remarked he felt his job would have been at risk if he had spoken out against footballing authorities.
“I feel every time I speak I put my job at risk,” he said.
“When you’re criticising the authorities, they don’t take too kindly to it. Remember we’re criticising about a particular topic that we should all be concerned about, we all want to do better at.”
FA: Townsend Comments ‘Simply Without Foundation’
The FA’s statement, which was issued after the programme aired, disputes this.
“Importantly, The FA was very concerned that substantial and serious inaccuracies made by Kick It Out’s Troy Townsend were aired during the documentary,” it read.
“…In alleging that an individual at Kick It Out fears losing their job if they criticise footballing authorities, this is simply without foundation.
“No player, or any other participant who is the victim of abuse of any kind, should feel that they are not able to access the support that they need. We strongly condemn all forms of discrimination and we take all complaints seriously.
“We remain fully committed and focused on driving out discrimination from the game and ensuring that English football is a diverse and inclusive game for all.”
Townsend also claimed there were rules preventing him talking to an alleged victim during an active case: “When an incident happens, I’m not supposed to talk to you. I’m not supposed to support you because football rules say I would be impeding an investigation.
“Basically what you’re saying is you’re hanging the victim out to dry until the end of the investigation.”
“However, we can confirm that there are no rules or inferences in the relationship which prevent Kick It Out from contacting victims of discrimination.
“On the contrary, The FA’s written policy is to actively encourage the involvement of Kick It Out so that they can support victims of discrimination during and after The FA’s disciplinary process.”
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