Racism in British football still 'significant problem', say MPs
But Manchester United's Alex Ferguson says 'one bad year doesn't cast the game in doubt'
RACISM is still a "significant problem" in British football, according to a House of Commons committee report.
Last December, Liverpool's Suarez (pictured above) was handed an eight-match ban and a £40,000 fine by the Football Association after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra. In July, ex-England captain John Terry was cleared of racially abusing fellow footballer Anton Ferdinand.
The committee's report conceded that behaviour at football matches had "changed hugely" since the 1970s and 80s "when racial and other forms of abuse were common".
But despite improvements, MPs found that recent incidents of racist abuse highlighted that there were still “significant problems”.
The report found that several initiatives and charities such as Show Racism the Red Card have helped to reduce racism where it is most prevalent - on the streets, in the grounds and online - but more still needed to be done by the FA.
MPs also said homophobia may now be the most prevalent form of discrimination and called for a high-profile campaign to highlight the damaging effect of homophobic language and behaviour.
The panel's recommendation included extra training for stewards and clear guidelines on how to report incidents of abuse. The panel also wants to ensure successful prosecutions take place at grassroots level.
In a joint statement, the FA, the Premier League and the Football League said "substantial progress had been made" but acknowledged that "challenges remained" and said they would consider the committee's recommendations.
But, when asked whether football needed to do more to tackle racism, Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson told the BBC: "English football was very good at challenging those issues.
"Apart from last year, I don't think it's been an issue. I've not seen anything for 20 years. Suddenly, one bad year doesn't cast the game in doubt as far as I'm concerned." ·