If anybody needs an apology I think I do – John Yems hits back over racism ban

Former Crawley manager John Yems has insisted he is due an apology after being banned from football until June 2024 over aggravated breaches of racism rules.

The 63-year-old issued a defiant response to the criticism which has come his way since he admitted to one charge and was found guilty of 11 others relating to comments that referenced either ethnic origin, colour, race, nationality, religion, belief or gender between 2019 and 2022 despite an FA independent panel ruling that he was “not a conscious racist”.

Asked if he wanted to apologise to anybody, Yems told talkSPORT: “People who are out there, they are going to say what they are going to say, people who are out there are going to think what they’re going to think.

“I’m only saying to you, have a look: I wasn’t found to be racist, I never used racist language with intent.

“If anybody needs an apology I think I do, the abuse and everything that I’ve been getting, and when people haven’t even had the courtesy to ask me.

“I don’t think anybody has even looked at the case with any open-mindedness. If you go in there, I think there’s a few apologies that should be coming my way.”

Yems, who denied referring to black players as “Zulu warriors” and segregating changing rooms and pitches, was asked if he accepted that he had done anything wrong in the language he had used in the past.

He replied: “No, no. The thing that I’ve done wrong has been highlighted to me and it’s shown me now that there are certain things that you can’t say and do.

“Well, so be it. If that’s the rules now and if that’s what we’re supposed to do, then let people know.

“But to me, it’s the intent of what things were said. I haven’t purposely gone out there individually to say to somebody ‘XYZ’ purely on the colour of skin.”

The Football Association is looking into the possibility of mounting a legal challenge against the panel’s findings, which were described by anti-discrimination campaign Kick It Out as “a slap in the face” for victims.

However, Yems appeared to play down his offences, saying: “It’s not a court of law, that’s the first thing people keep telling me. I haven’t broken any laws, it’s the FA rules.

“It’s like getting thrown out of one pub and another pub letting you in there, simple as that.”

Meanwhile in an unusual step over a matter which relates to a manager at an EFL club, the Premier League said it shared the FA’s concerns about the independent panel’s conclusions when contacted by the PA news agency.

A Premier League spokesperson said: “Following the publication of the FA’s independent regulatory commission’s sanction, the Premier League condemns the language used by John Yems. The league shares the FA’s concerns about the conclusions made by the independent panel and supports the FA’s subsequent statement.

“The Premier League is committed to eradicating racism from all parts of the game. Discrimination has no place in football or society. The League’s No Room For Racism Action Plan makes it clear that racism will not be tolerated, and outlines a series of commitments and targets to promote equality, diversity and inclusion and increase opportunities across the game.”