Talks open on black players association

Peter Herbert, who chairs the Society of Black Lawyers, said talks about the formation of an organisation - which has a working title of the Black Players' Association - are at a preliminary stage.

It comes after a week in which England Under-21 players were allegedly racially abused in Serbia while a number of players - notably Reading striker Jason Roberts and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand - refused to wear Kick It Out T-shirts at the weekend.

Herbert told Radio Five Live: "I think we have reached a watershed. The Society of Black Lawyers have been looking at the situation and held informal talks with a few black players.

"What we needed essentially was for black players themselves to take the initiative which they now appear to have done and form a progressive black footballers' association which can properly represent their interests and speak on their behalf whenever there is a legal issue - they suffered abuse in Serbia, they suffer abuse in the UK.

"Or there is the more mundane discrimination type of matters which give rise to concern every day of the week for the majority of our community. That is what we are assisting with. We are in discussions, things are at a preliminary stage."

Meanwhile, the Football Association has said it will review its sanctions for racial abuse in the wake of the John Terry case as chairman David Bernstein called on disenchanted players not to form a breakaway union.

Terry was banned for four matches and fined ?220,000 for racially abusing QPR's Anton Ferdinand but some players feel the Chelsea captain escaped lightly. There is no fixed sanction for racism under FA rules - independent disciplinary commissioners work on the basis of doubling sanctions if there is an "aggravating factor" such as racial abuse.

Asked about whether the FA would look again at the tariff for sanctions, Bernstein told a news conference at Wembley Stadium: "It's on the agenda to look at it again.

"The FA received a certain, probably limited degree of criticism for its processes in the Terry thing. We will look at that. I think the tariffs will need looking at but given the existing scenarios and given other punishments elsewhere actually the commission got it pretty much right."

Source: PA

Source: PA