John Yems racism ban: FA launches appeal for tougher punishment

<span>Photograph: Pete Norton/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Pete Norton/Getty Images

The Football Association is to appeal against the decision of an independent panel to suspend the former Crawley manager John Yems from football for 18 months, saying it believes “a longer sanction is appropriate”.

The news comes a week after Yems, 62, was found to have committed 12 ‘aggravated’ breaches of FA rules against discrimination, including the use of a number of racial slurs against members of his squad. A three-man review panel chose to reduce Yems’ punishment because they believed he was not a “conscious” racist.

Related: John Yems was given a get-out-of-jail-free card over racism by FA panel | Sanjay Bhandari

In a statement released on Monday the FA said: “We are appealing the sanction imposed by the Independent Panel on John Yems. We believe a longer sanction is appropriate. We are unable to comment further until the appeal is complete”

An independent regulatory commission is a group appointed by the FA to examine serious disciplinary cases. The FA brings the charges then makes the case for rules having been breached during a tribunal. It does not have input into the commission’s verdict.

A ban of 18 months is the longest suspension served against an individual for breaking rules on discrimination, but the FA had argued to the commission that Yems should face a suspension of two years.

The FA also took issue with the panel’s consideration of whether Yems’ racist actions had been “conscious”, something which went beyond the formal terms of the commission’s remit. Now the governing body will seek to overturn the decision.

The Professional Footballers’ Association said it was “absolutely right” that the FA should appeal against the decision of the panel.

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Jason Lee, a senior equality, diversity and inclusion education executive at the players’ union, said that there had been “no need” for the panel to go beyond establishing whether Yems’ behaviour was discriminatory and that in going beyond such a consideration “they have offered a justification that is wholly unnecessary and, in our view, completely without merit.

“In doing so they have caused anger and upset to many, including those who came forward to the PFA to ensure that John Yems was held to account. Every individual is responsible for the impact of their words and their behaviour. There should be no excuses made. As their union, the PFA will be continuing to support the players involved moving forward.”

Yems told TalkSport last Thursday: “I find it very offensive for people to say I’m racist.”