LONDON — British Prime Minister David Cameron is hosting a soccer racism summit to address the recent spate of racist incidents that have blighted the national game. Cameron and Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt are to hold a “round table discussion” with soccer officials and players’ representatives, according to a Downing Street statement. “The government is committed to working with the soccer community as a whole to address and tackle issues of discrimination, recognising that great progress has been made, but also that there is more to be done across a range of issues,” said the statement. Representatives from the Football Association, the Premier League, the Football League, The Professional Footballers’ Association and the League Managers’ Association are expected to attend along with ex-players John Barnes, Graeme Le Saux, Paul Elliott. Cameron’s intervention comes following high-profile incidents. Controversy was stirred when Liverpool striker Luis Suarez refused to shake hands with Manchester United’s Patrice Evra before their clubs’ match at Old Trafford earlier this month. Suarez has only recently returned for Liverpool after serving an eight-match ban for racially abusing Evra during a game in October. Meanwhile Chelsea’s John Terry has been stripped of the England captaincy while he awaits a criminal trial on charges of racially abusing QPR’s Anton Ferdinand. Terry denies the charges.
At a charity reception last month, Cameron said: “My message is clear: we will not tolerate racism in Britain. It has absolutely no place in our society and where it exists, we will kick it out. “Our football governing bodies, clubs and footballers themselves have a vital role to play as role models in this respect.”