Hodgson criticised over Terry support

Wed, Aug 15, 2012, 01:00

Soccer:Leading anti-racism campaigner Piara Powar has branded England manager Roy Hodgson’s intervention in the John Terry case as “foolish”. Ahead of tonight’s friendly with Italy in Berne, Hodgson expressed support for Terry, who is currently the subject of an (English) FA charge over comments made to Anton Ferdinand at Loftus Road last October.

Terry has already been found not guilty of a racially aggravated public order offence by Westminster Magistrates Court and Hodgson expressed the hope Chelsea’s captain would also be cleared at an English FA hearing, which will not take place until the end of next month.

Powar, executive director of Football Against Racism, has said: “Hodgson’s comments on Terry are foolish. It is not helpful to the process the (English) FA has undertaken in any way. The England manager is employed by the FA, who have a dual role in running the national team and being the governing body.

“Whatever support Roy Hodgson wants to give to a member of his squad, he also has to remember the FA’s wider role: for the England coach to go public with his view like this calls into question that dual function.”

By the time Terry’s hearing takes place, the case will have been rumbling on for 11 months, bringing with it so many negative headlines the game could have done without.

It has done little to improve the game’s profile in the eyes of the public who have been captivated not only by the athletic achievements, but also the humility of its Olympians over the past three weeks.

Whilst Powar has no wish to see cases resolved speedily at the expense of justice, he does feel greater transparency would have helped. “My primary concern with this case is that justice is done,” he said. That comes above any expediency within the decision-making process.

“There has been a criminal case involved here and no doubt the FA are carrying out their own investigations. What might have been better was if the FA put out a statement explaining what was happening and how long it was likely to take because the way it is going on, it risks people getting fed up with the situation.”

Powar also feels there needs to be some clarity as to who should be responsible for player behaviour, clubs or the governing body. He noted that in a recent case involving Emmanuel Frimpong, Arsenal first intervened with the striker posted a racist response to an offensive Tweet, only for the FA to then wade in by fining the striker £6,000.

“I accept these are complex matters but when you looked at Frimpong’s ‘Yids’ statement, which clearly in the context it was used was derogatory and racist, first his club stepped in, then the FA took action as well,” said Powar.

“These players are employed by their clubs, so that is another issue that needs looking at.”

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