|- Glen Kamara Europa League incident to top the agenda at first meeting of new board
- Marvin Bartley and Leanne Ross join EDAB as Equality Advisors
- PFA Scotland and Show Racism the Red Card join Scottish FA in fight to end discrimination
The SFA’s Equality and Diversity Advisory Board (EDAB) has redoubled its efforts to eradicate racism as the game unites behind Rangers’ Glen Kamara after he spoke of receiving "vile racist abuse" in Thursday’s UEFA Europa League tie against Slavia Prague. EDAB today announces a series of new board appointments designed to unite the game behind a common agenda to eradicate racism and all forms of discrimination, whilst promoting equality for all within the game. The incident involving Kamara will be the top item on the agenda and EDAB are expected to initiate an online summit they hope will involve the biggest names and advocates for equality in Scottish football to champion meaningful change.
It comes as the Scotland Men’s National Team agree to Stand Up and say #NoToRacism ahead of Thursday’s FIFA World Cup Qualifier against Austria at Hampden Park. EDAB, convened under the auspices of the Scottish FA Board and chaired by one of its independent directors, Ana Stewart, has welcomed Livingston midfielder Marvin Bartley and former Scotland midfielder Leanne Ross on board as SFA Equality Advisors. The two players will have regular dialogue with the S’s EDAB in order to give an existing player’s perspective on forthcoming decisions as well as providing an insightful view on certain issues which exist within the game. Tomorrow’s meeting, which will include the Scottish FA Chief Executive Ian Maxwell, will also feature four new board members from across the spectrum of the game: Tony Higgins (PFA Scotland), Jordan Allison (Show Racism the Red Card), Maureen McGonigle (Scottish Women in Sport) and Sirri Topping (LEAP Sports).
Ian Maxwell, SFA Chief Executive: "The incident involving Glen Kamara at Ibrox last week demonstrates that society and football still has a lot of work to do to eradicate racism. Scottish football’s response shows the commitment to change and EDAB exists to be an agency for change, bringing consensus from across the game on all matters of equality and diversity. After witnessing the scenes last Thursday, we contacted Rangers immediately through our equality team to offer our support and guidance through a range of services and we aim to continue that dialogue with any club directly affected by these issues. Scottish football has helped raise awareness of the issue of racism by taking the knee throughout the season but there is an acknowledgment that more needs to be done than a gesture of support, especially in the increasing scourge of racist abuse to players via social media. Through our EDAB discussions we will explore ways of implementing meaningful change with players at the centre of those discussions."
Ana Stewart, EDAB Chair and Scottish FA Independent Non-Executive Director: "Inviting members from key equality and diversity stakeholders to join EDAB, as well as gaining insight from current players such as Leanne and Marvin will be invaluable as we continue our aim to work towards equality for all. Our dialogue with the clubs is also vitally important and this week we look forward to discussing the ongoing issues of racism and the impact they have on footballers in many forms. We want to listen to the concerns clubs and, more importantly, players have around these issues and do all we can within EDAB to help eradicate this stain on our game."
Marvin Bartley, SFA Equality Advisor: "We have seen all too recently that racism still continues to be a major issue within football and further demonstrates the work that needs done to eradicate it from our game. I am eager to join Leanne Ross as an advisor to the Scottish FA, to provide thoughts from a player’s perspective on issues that are extremely close my heart. Recently we’ve witnessed every club in the country pull together and unite against racism and now it’s time for us to continue to make sure no individual is ever left to feel alone or ostracised. “Rivalries based on the colour of shirt a player wears on a Saturday is healthy but rivalries based on their skin colour is not. Through my new role I’m really looking forward to helping the Scottish FA and EDAB in their equality and diversity aims."
Jordan Allison, Show Racism the Red Card Campaign Manager: "We are grateful for this responsibility and look forward to championing education as the key to driving inclusion for all within Scottish football. Many top role models within the men’s and women’s game have voiced their calls for action, and their willingness to help educate future generations is extremely encouraging. The Scottish FA’s Equality Framework gives us a real opportunity to listen and make positive change throughout the game in Scotland. We must now see progress."
Fraser Wishart, Chief Executive of PFA Scotland: Along with Show Racism the Red Card, the players union has been at the forefront of the fight against racism and discrimination for over 20 years. The fight against inequality and social injustice is even more prominent and important today than it was when our President Tony Higgins, who will represent us on EDAB, helped form Show Racism the Red Card those many years ago. The racist abuse suffered by Glen Kamara last Thursday is just the latest incident in what has been a worrying time for our game and indeed society as a whole. There is no place for racism and discrimination in football or any walk of life. Our game has been blighted by the shadow of racism for too long and it has to stop – enough is enough. The players have shown togetherness with their actions this season, be that by Taking A Knee or making a stand with Glen as they did at the weekend, and are determined to play their part and make their voices heard. They want action and they want change. Awareness and education are key and have never been more crucial as we look to rid our game of the scourge that is racism.