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John Yems hits back over racism ban: ‘Apologies should be coming my way’

John Yems hits back over racism ban: ‘Apologies should be coming my way’

  • Former Crawley manager responds after ban to June 2024
  • ‘I find it very offensive for people to say I’m racist,’ he says

The former Crawley manager John Yems believes he is “owed an apology” despite having committed 12 aggravated breaches of Football Association rules on discrimination. Yems was found by an independent FA panel to have called players in his squad “curry munchers”, “terrorists” and “Zulu warriors” among a range of slurs and banned him from football until June 2024.

In an unrepentant interview on TalkSport on Thursday, however, Yems downplayed the seriousness of the charges he faced and insinuated the original complaints had been manufactured by players with grievances against him.

“People out there are going to say what they’re going to say,” he said. “I am saying to you I wasn’t found to be racist, I never used racist language with intent. If anyone is owed an apology I think I do.

“All the abuse I’ve been getting without people even having the courtesy to ask me. I don’t think people have even looked at the case with open-mindedness. And I think if you go in there there’s a few apologies that should be coming my way.”

Yems went on: “The thing that I’ve done wrong has been highlighted to me and it’s shown me there are certain things you can’t say or do . If that’s the rules now and that’s what you’re supposed to do then let people know. But for me it’s the intent of what [has been] said: I have not purposely gone out to say to somebody x, y or z purely because the colour of their skin.

“You’re hearing one side of the story. There’s no witnesses. There were four boys who were released by me at the end of the season that wasn’t being offered contracts. Make your own mind up and form your own opinion about what goes on in football.”

Yems was banned from working in football for 18 months by the independent regulatory commission after they considered 15 charges against the 62-year-old, with Yems accepting one further charge. Explaining the scale of the sanction, the committee said they had chosen to limit the punishment because they did not believe Yems was a “conscious” racist. Anti-racism campaigners have warned that set a “dangerous precedent by allowing perpetrators to hide behind a ‘banter defence’”.

The consideration fell outside the remit of the panel and was rejected by the FA, but Yems used it in his interview, alongside the withdrawal of one of 17 original charges, as proof he had been unfairly treated.

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“They’ve said I’ve used old-fashioned language and if that’s the case that’s the case, but it wasn’t for me to be racist. That’s a terrible, terrible thing to say to somebody and it’s so easy to throw them accusations because you throw enough mud and guess what, it will stick. I find it very offensive for people to say I’m racist.”

The withdrawn charge related to a claim that Yems had racially segregated his dressing room. Yems said this particular charge had resulted in his receiving threats and his wife being followed to work, though he also appeared to suggest further charges had been dropped too, which was not the case.

“I was doorstepped for two days, my wife was followed to work, people were phoning me up saying they were going to do this and do that to me. All over a charge that I segregated dressing rooms, segregated pitches, didn’t pick black players because they were black, didn’t do this, didn’t do that. And I was like: ‘What’s going on? And guess what?’ They dropped all them charges … and that never gets a mention.”

This post was originally published on this site

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