FA inconsistent on racism, says campaigner Powar

Anti-racism campaigner Piara Powar feels the Football Association (FA) has demonstrated inconsistency when dealing with racist incidents.

West Brom striker Nicolas Anelka was handed a five-match ban and £80,000 fine last week for his controversial 'quenelle' celebration, almost two months to the day after the incident took place.

FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe) network executive director Powar has questioned why suspensions of varying lengths have been handed out in different cases over the past three seasons, and why it took the FA so long to reach a decision.

Powar made reference to the eight-match ban handed to Liverpool forward Luis Suarez in December 2011 for racially abusing Patrice Evra and a four-match suspension imposed on John Terry in September 2012 after Chelsea's captain was found to have abused Anton Ferdinand.

"I don't want to get involved in whether five games is enough (for Anelka), whether it should be seven or eight," Powar told Perform. "What I would say on that is that this is the third case the FA have dealt with regarding a player, and all the sanctions have been very different, so there is an issue regarding consistency that the FA need to look at.

"Why does Luis Suarez get so many games, John Terry so few and Anelka is pitched in the middle?

"We look for the FA to be very clear about the sanctions that apply for certain actions in and around football. I think they need to be very clear about what those sanctions are and be very clear how they're going to take the action that they should take.

"One of the issues we have is the time that they take in coming to these judgments. This gesture took place at the end of December; the judgment came out at the end of February - that's too long.

"There's no reason why, however complicated a case like this is, that it can't be dealt with within two or three weeks.

"The FA are far more fit for purpose than they ever were, but there still remain gaps in the way in which we're dealing with this issue.

"It seems that we stumble from one issue to another, the lessons are learned and then when we face the next situation, we find the lessons haven't been learned."

Powar also criticised the governing body for determining that Anelka's gesture was not anti-semitic.

"The FA have no right to be decreeing whether a particular gesture is anti-semitic or not," he added.

"That's for the Jewish community. That's for observers where it takes place quite a lot in France and Belgium. It's for those people to make those judgments, not for the FA."