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FA backs call to battle racism
The Football Association have backed a call by MPs for more work to be done in combating racism in the game.
The FA had been urged to "take the lead" over the problem. The recommendation came from John Whittingdale, MP for Maldon, who chaired an inquiry by the Commons' culture, media and sport committee following high-profile incidents last season.
Their report found that football's authorities need to do more to tackle racism and discrimination in the game. In response to the report the FA released a statement which read: "We welcome the report from the CMS Select Committee into Racism in Football."
The statement continued: "We agree with the Committee that whilst substantial progress has been made to promote equality and tackle discrimination in the game, challenges remain for all of the football authorities.
"We remain committed, along with all of our stakeholders, to promoting equality and diversity within the game and to the eradication of all forms of discrimination in football.
"We will continue to work across the entire breadth of the sport to deliver our inclusion and anti-discrimination agenda. In doing so, we will consider in detail how the Committee's recommendations can support and influence this work."
The report found racism is much less common than in the past, but that "significant problems" remain including homophobic abuse, with social media such as Twitter being a new platform for abuse.
Whittingdale said: "Recent incidents of racist abuse in the UK, both on and off the pitch, have highlighted the fact that there remain significant problems. We heard evidence that social media has become a tool for the spread of racist and abusive content, but it is also a potential means of combating the ignorance and prejudice that lie behind such behaviour.
"We believe that the football authorities should be using this developing forum for communication and debate to spread positive messages about equality and diversity, and also to speak out strongly against instances of racist abuse when they occur.
"While the general level of progress in combating racism and racist abuse in the UK is positive and should be applauded, there is much more that can and must be done, and we believe it is for the FA to take the lead and set the example for everyone, from football authorities at all levels to the grassroots groups, to follow."