London - British Prime Minister David
Cameron is set to enter the row on racism within English football by
calling a Downing Street meeting to discuss the issue.
to several reports in the British press, Cameron and Culture Secretary
Jeremy Hunt are to hold a "round table discussion" with football
officials and players' representatives later this month.
Cameron's intervention comes following some high-profile incidents.
was stirred Saturday when Liverpool striker Luis Suarez refused to
shake hands with Manchester United's Patrice Evra before their clubs'
match at Old Trafford.
Suarez has only recently returned for
Liverpool after serving an eight-match ban for racially abusing Evra
during a game in October.
Meanwhile Chelsea's John Terry has been
stripped of the England captaincy while he awaits a criminal trial on
charges of racially abusing QPR's Anton Ferdinand. Terry denies the
At a charity reception last month, Cameron said: "My
message is clear: we will not tolerate racism in Britain. It has
absolutely no place in our society and where it exists, we will kick it
"Our football governing bodies, clubs and footballers themselves have a vital role to play as role models in this respect."
later apologised to Evra for refusing to shake hands but the Uruguay
forward was still subjected to a strong dressing down from his club as
Liverpool finally tried to bring an end to the simmering race row on
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson had branded Suarez a
disgrace, while Professional Footballers' Association chief Gordon
Taylor called the Liverpool star's actions "disrespectful, inappropriate
Suarez finally showed some contrition Sunday.
have spoken with the manager (Kenny Dalglish) since the game at Old
Trafford and I realise I got things wrong," Suarez said on Liverpool's
"I've not only let him down, but also the club
and what it stands for and I'm sorry. I made a mistake and I regret what
"I should have shaken Patrice Evra's hand before the game and I want to apologise for my actions."
Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre led the criticism of Suarez.
are extremely disappointed Luis Suarez did not shake hands with Patrice
Evra. The player had told us beforehand that he would, but then chose
not to do so," Ayre said.
"He has not only let himself down, but also Kenny Dalglish, his team-mates and the club."
actions lit the fuse on an always volatile fixture and police and
stewards were reportedly called into the tunnel area to calm the
situation after Evra tried to confront his rival at half-time.
scored in the 80th minute with Liverpool trailing 2-0, but United held
on to win and Evra embarked on a wild post-match celebration that saw
him appear to taunt the South American by celebrating right next to him.
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