FOOTBALL: Volunteers wanted to join FA's fight against discrimination

This is The West Country: FOOTBALL: Volunteers wanted to join FA's fight against discrimination FOOTBALL: Volunteers wanted to join FA's fight against discrimination

SOMERSET FA officials are stepping up efforts to tackle prejudice in the grassroots game by calling on more volunteers to join their Local Football Anti-Discrimination Panel (LFADP).

Concerned about a spate of unsavoury incidents involving top soccer stars, the FA directed that LFADP’s be set up by all county associations in a bid to put a dampener on discriminatory behaviour on and off the pitch at local football venues.

Somerset FA officials have already appointed several ‘quality’ volunteers to make up their own panel, which meets to assist commissions adjudicating on disciplinary charges against players, managers and others on the sidelines who demonstrate discriminatory behaviour during the course of football fixtures.

Now they are appealing for more soccer enthusiasts from a diverse range of backgrounds to get involved in the on-going battle to rid the ‘beautiful game’ of inflammatory, racist remarks and other forms of prejudicial practice.

Jonathan Pike, chief executive of Somerset FA, said: “This is a terrific chance for people to witness the disciplinary process in action and get fully involved in it.

“Members of our own LFADP are expected to assist in the management of cases relating to discrimination within the FA disciplinary framework, and assist in providing written judgements on such cases.

“We’re looking for more enthusiastic and educated people to join our panel with a view to tackling the type of discriminatory behaviours that blight our wonderful game.

“Get rid of the nasty stuff and you promote greater participation in football, whether it is as a player, coach or referee.

“It could be that individuals considering getting involved with our LFADP have experience in the legal profession, or are involved with minority groups within their own communities.

“Whatever their strengths and qualities, we’re looking for diverse and committed people who have a sound knowledge of judicial processes, preferably within a sporting context; an understanding of football at all levels, not least in their own local communities, and a high degree of patience and diplomacy.”

Pike added: “Discrimination is something the FA, and we as a county organisation, are determined to stamp out.

“It is unacceptable that remarks about people’s skin colour, appearance, gender, religious beliefs or even age should be made in and around a local football ground.

“Hopefully people with the right credentials wishing to team up with our anti-discriminatory panel can play a full part in adjudicating and assisting in the management of cases relating to these sad and unwanted situations.”

While successful candidates will serve on a voluntary basis, expenses will be covered and appropriate training given.

Applications must be submitted by Friday, July 25.

To apply to join the Somerset LFADP, or for more details about the role, call Jonathan Pike on 01458 832359 or email secretary@somersetfa.com

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