||The chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association has outlined its plans for new and stricter measures to tackle and monitor racism in football.
The six point plan, including a commitment to tackling Islamophobia, has been drawn up following a number of racist incidents arising in recent weeks at matches at home and abroad leading to players refusing to wear the Kick It Out jerseys in protest at the lack of action by sporting organisations on equality issues.
The six point plan announced by Gordon Taylor stipulates:
1 Speeding up the process of dealing with reported racist abuse with close monitoring of any incidents.
2 Consideration of stiffer penalties for racist abuse and to include an equality awareness programme for culprits and clubs involved.
3 An English form of the 'Rooney rule' - introduced by the NFL in America in 2003 - to make sure qualified black coaches are on interview lists for job vacancies.
4 The proportion of black coaches and managers to be monitored and any inequality or progress highlighted.
5 Racial abuse to be considered gross misconduct in player and coach contracts (and therefore potentially a sackable offence).
6 To not to lose sight of other equality issues such as gender, sexual orientation, disability, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and Asians in football.
With the growing number of players of Muslim backgrounds playing for football clubs and the steady introduction of initiatives to deal with diversity, the PFA's announcement is a welcome and huge step forward.
The sport has been criticised for being slow in responding to Islamophobic and racist abuse with Middlesbrough striker Ahmed 'Mido' Hossam, complaining in 2008 that the FA was not taking seriously abuse directed at Muslim players and Islam.