Former manager of English football team Crawley Town banned for 15 months for racist behavior towards players

Former manager of English football team Crawley Town banned for 15 months for racist behavior towards players

Former Crawley Town FC manager John Yems has been banned from English football until June 2024 for his racist behaviour.

An independent commission banned Yems earlier this month after he was found to have credibly committed at least a dozen instances of racist conduct towards players he coached. The investigation into Yems’ conduct began in May after he was suspended in late April following “serious and credible” allegations of racist behaviour.

Shortly after the English players’ association launched another investigation when numerous Crawley Town players brought allegations against Yems, the fourth division club parted ways with him on 6 May.

Yems was found guilty of the charges on January 6 and the English Football Association published a detailed list of the charges against him this week. The document details countless cases of racism against players of different origins and nationalities.

The cases of racism and Islamophobia

Yems had been the manager of Crawley Town since 2019 and the document said that much of Yems’ documented racist behavior came after the cancellation of the 2019-20 season finale due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yems was accused of 16 cases of racist behavior. He admitted one of the accusations and denied the other 15. The panel found that 11 of the 15 accusations he denied were credible.

The first documented case of Yems’s behavior is from a Nigerian player. The player said that Yems would ask if he would eat “spicy chicken” on the apparent assumption that the player was of Caribbean descent. The player also recalled an instance “when I was playing darts in the canteen with Player 2, another black player, when Mr. Yems asked what they were doing playing darts when people like them normally take sharp objects to the mouth” before making a reference. to the Zulu warriors.

John Yems managed Crawley Town between 2019 and 2022. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

The same player also said that Yems mispronounced Arnold Schwarzenegger’s last name to make it sound like a racial slur. A second black player said Yems would ask him similar questions about the jerk chicken.

Yems would also refer to a player of Asian descent as a “curry eater” and mock him for eating curry. Another player detailed that the half-Indian, half-Irish player was mocked because of his ethnicity and “on one occasion, when the players were eating pizzas from a sponsor Domino’s Pizzas, Mr. Yems asked if he was upset that there was no curry pizza.” “.

An Iraqi Muslim who played for Yems said Yems joked that he was a “terrorist.” According to the report, he said Yems would ask him “if he slept with an AK47, and he said he couldn’t have a GPS vest because you guys blow things up in vests.” The player said that Yems would also ask him repeatedly if he had a bomb in his bag.

Why wasn’t the ban on Yems longer?

The length of Yems’ ban from coaching soccer was immediately a source of scrutiny due to the language used to justify the relatively brief suspension. Even the FA said they disagreed with the length of the ban.

The independent panel said Yems was not given a longer suspension because it was “confident that Mr. Yems as a person is not a racist” and that he “never intended to make racist comments.” He also describes him as a man “of a jocular disposition” and out of touch with current times, while probably “giving no thought at all to the effect of his language on those at whom the ‘jokes’ were directed”.

“Mr. Yems is a man of a humorous disposition,” the panel wrote. “His goal is to foster bonding between players by making jokes and joining in the fun with them. He was constantly looking to make some laugh, regardless of the effect of his words.” in others. Second, Mr. Yems describes himself as “old school” and someone who doesn’t care about the niceties of political correctness. It’s fair to say that he doesn’t appreciate that much of the kind of Language that might have been in common use 40 or 50 years ago has no place in modern society.

The FA said on Wednesday that it disagreed with the decision to ban Yems until June and had requested a longer suspension against the manager. The anti-racist group Kick It Out also spoke out strongly against the brevity of the ban.

“The behavior described in the report must be called exactly what it is; racism and Islamophobia,” Kick It Out said in a statement. “Plainly speaking, a 15-month ban given the seriousness of the 11 proven charges is a slap in the face for the victims of the discriminatory abuse detailed in this report and anyone else.” . who has been subjected to racism or Islamophobia”.

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